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Visas for Kosovo Available to Russians

Russians can now buy visas for entry to Kovovo, even though Russia still refuses to recognize the Balkan republic's independence.

Visas will also be made available for nationals of 86 other countries to purchase, Interfax reported Tuesday.

"We have just issued the first entry visa of the Republic of Kosovo to a citizen from Ghana," the republic's Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj wrote on Twitter.

The minister said the new visa regime will prevent human trafficking and illegal migration in the self-administered republic, known to have been a major route for illegal migration to the European Union since Yugoslavia disintegrated.

Entry visas for travel to Kosovo will be required for citizens of several European countries including Russia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine, as well as Asian and African countries, such as Egypt, India, China, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Kosovo was part of Serbia as an autonomous region populated by an ethnic Albanian majority. In 2008 it declared its independence and was promptly recognized by several dozen European and Arab countries including the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

Neither Serbia nor Russia have recognized Kosovo's independence, however, it has become a member of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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