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Detained Russians, Serbs Leave Kosovo After Paying Fine


A lawyer for one of the Serbs confirmed that the group left Kosovo after paying the fine.

Six Russians and five Serbs have left Kosovo after being detained by police for illegally crossing the border from Serbia.

The 11 people detained on August 8 were traveling in two vehicles when they were stopped near the border, Kosovo's police force said.

A court in Podujeva, north of the capital, Pristina, imposed a 250-euro ($295) on each member of the group for illegally crossing the border.

Remzi Potoku, a lawyer for one of the Serbs, on August 10 confirmed that the group left Kosovo after paying the fine.

The detentions came amid persistent concerns in the Balkans about Russian influence.

Potoku, whose Serbian client is married to a Russian, told RFE/RL that his client said the group had been on their way to visit family members in Kosovo.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Belgrade, Yury Pichugin, confirmed that the Russian citizens in the group had left Kosovo.

"The situation with the Russian nationals detained in Kosovo has been settled. Under a ruling of the court in the city of Podujeva, they have paid a fine and left Kosovo accompanied by an officer of the Russian Embassy in Pristina," Pichugin said.

Pichugin said that two of the Russians were local residents who are members of a Serbian citizen's family.

Predominantly ethnic Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It is recognized by more than 100 countries, including the United States, but not by Serbia or Russia.

With reporting by AP and TASS
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