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Kosovo Prosecutor Seeks Fine For Russians Charged With Illegal Border Crossing

A prosecutor in Kosovo has demanded that two Russian nationals detained in the north of the country on suspicion of illegally crossing the border from Serbia be fined for their actions.

Nikola Kabasic, chief of the Basic Court in the city of Mitrovica, on January 14 told RFE/RL that the court has received prosecutor Slobodan Bakic’s request that the two Russians -- a man and a woman -- be fined and that a decision is likely on January 15.

People familiar with the matter told RFE/RL that the Russian nationals asserted to Kosovar authorities they intended to reach Lukovska Banja in southern Serbia -- but that their navigation system had mistakenly sent them across the border with Kosovo.

Kosovo, which was formerly a province of Serbia, has tense relations with its Balkan neighbor. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 -- a move never recognized by Belgrade, its traditional ally Russia, and five EU member states. It is recognized by more than 110 countries, including its close ally, the United States.

Prosecutor Bakic told RFE/RL the two had earlier attempted to cross the border at Jarina but were turned back because they did not have visas.

The Russians "then used an alternative route in the village of Sharpel and attempted to cross the border illegally,” he said, adding that he had ordered a 24-hour detention before they were to appear before a judge.

The prosecutor said the detention took place on January 13 in Leposavic, a town mainly populated by ethnic Serbs.

He identified them as Igor Krasikov and Marina Vladimirovna Krasikova.

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