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NATO 'Wants to Use Montenegro to Militarize Balkans'

© REUTERS / Ints KalninsNATO and US flags flutter as U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter flies over the military air base in Siauliai, Lithuania, April 27, 2016.
NATO and US flags flutter as U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter flies over the military air base in Siauliai, Lithuania, April 27, 2016. - Sputnik International
The North Atlantic Alliance intends to use its newest member, Montenegro, to militarize the Balkan Peninsula, political activist and one of the leaders of the Resistance to Hopelessness movement Marko Milacic told Sputnik Serbia.

NATO has expanded to include Montenegro "to show others, particularly Serbia, how powerful it is," the activist said, adding that the US-led alliance "wants to use Montenegro to militarize the Balkans and Serbia since Belgrade is the main player in the region."

Milacic further said that Podgorica has gone to great lengths to push the country into the bloc despite popular discontent with the initiative at home.

Anti-NATO demonstrators burn a NATO flag in front of a a banner that reads: No to NATO, your hands are bloody - Death to fascism, freedom to the people, during a protest outside the hall before the parliament session in Cetinje, Montenegro, Friday, April 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
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"Our authorities have detained people so that no one would stand in the way of Montenegro joining the alliance. They use trivial reasons to arrest [anyone who disagrees with this decision]. They are trying to paint as criminals those who criticize this global lack of freedom as embodied by NATO. When our movement set the NATO flag on fire in a show of civil disobedience, all hell broke loose as if we launched a Tomahawk missile to hit NATO headquarters in Brussels," he said.

Milacic suggested that Montenegro would become the first country to leave NATO once new leadership comes to power in the Balkan nation.

"It should be emphasized that the decision to join NATO was made by criminal authorities, not the people. Montenegrins are against the country becoming part of the bloc. All surveys prove this. The accession process took place without an input from the people or the opposition which has boycotted the parliament. In other words, a crippled parliament did this. However, aspirations for freedom appeared in Montenegro long before these people came to power. We will outlive NATO and our domestic occupants who would eventually end up in prison or flee somewhere," the activist said.

Demonstrators wave flags during anti-NATO protest as Montenegro’s parliament discusses NATO membership agreement in Cetinje, Montenegro, April 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Last week, all NATO members ratified Montenegro's accession protocol, with the process expected to be finalized later this month. The Balkan nation will become a full-fledged member of the North Atlantic Alliance at the bloc's upcoming summit scheduled to be held on May 24-25 in Brussels.

Montenegro was invited to join NATO in December 2015, as part of the first expansion of the alliance into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation, triggering mass protests across the country.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over NATO's eastward expansion, saying that this process could undermine stability and security in the region and beyond. Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized Montenegro for joining the alliance without holding a nationwide referendum.

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