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Montenegrin FM Accuses Moscow of Hampering Balkan Country's Accession to NATO

© REUTERS / Francois LenoirFlags fly at half mast at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 23, 2016.
Flags fly at half mast at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 23, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Foreign Minister of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic said that Russia tried to meddle in the country’s internal affairs in order to hamper Podgorica’s accession to NATO, which is expected to be formally finalized in June.

BELGRADE (Sputnik) — In April, The Russian Foreign Ministry described the ratification of the law on Podgorica's accession to the alliance by the Montenegrin parliament amid nationwide protests against the move as “violation of all democratic principles."

“Russia openly interfered in our internal affairs, what we, of course, do not approve. Russia has been pursuing a policy of spheres of interest, opposing the expansion of NATO. We decided to define our main goals by ourselves, and we were surprised by how much Russia intervened,” the minister said, as quoted by the RTCG broadcaster on Sunday.

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
NATO 'Wants to Use Montenegro to Militarize Balkans'
The minister stressed that Montenegro’s membership in NATO is not directed against Russia or any other country, noting that Moscow is one of the top ten economic partners of Podgorica.

Russia has repeatedly accused NATO of eastward expansion, which contradicts previous commitments by Western leaders. The bloc was created to offset the Soviet military might and that of the 1955 Warsaw Treaty Organization, which was dissolved in 1991.

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