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Montenegro Justifies Joining NATO by Russia Meddling Accusations - Moscow

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankForeign countries. Montenegro
Foreign countries. Montenegro - Sputnik International
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Montenegrin authorities are attempting to justify the country's NATO membership policy by accusing Moscow of meddling in the country's affairs, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic said Moscow tried to meddle in the country’s internal affairs in order to prevent Podgorica’s accession to the military alliance.

"The Foreign Ministry has repeatedly commented numerous statements of Montenegrin politicians about an alleged Russian threat, about meddling in domestic affairs, and so on. All these steps were necessary to justify the country's NATO accession in the eyes of the nation," Zakharova told the National News Service (NSN) broadcaster while speaking about Darmanovic's statement.

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 spokeswoman added that the Montenegrin nation did not want to join the ranks of the Atlantic military alliance even given the "spy hysteria and defense against a virtual enemy" stirred by local authorities, who made an attempt to suppress the will of the Montenegrin population by making up stories about "the hand of the Kremlin."

Podgorica was invited to join the 28-nation military alliance in December 2015. Montenegrin authorities accepted the invitation that caused protests in the Balkan nation. On May 19, 2016, NATO member states signed the accession protocol. According to NATO's website, the accession process is expected to finish by June 2017.

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