MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Montenegro’s joining NATO is an artificial decision and will not provide the alliance with any extra security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“We were convinced, just as everyone else who thought that this artificial decision would not add any kind of extra security for NATO. The explanations that the Montenegrin people want this is countered by the argument that if this is so, then why not hold a referendum,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s Moskovsky Komsolmolets daily.
Montenegro's bid will then have to be ratified by the national parliaments of the alliance's members before the Balkan territory can become NATO's 29th member. Montenegro's opposition has protested the accession.
Russia's Foreign Ministry has warned that the start of the talks over Montenegro's NATO membership will harm Eurasian and Atlantic security systems, as well as relations between Russia and the alliance.
In the post-Cold War era, NATO saw its membership increase from 16 to 28 members. The twelve new members were all in the Eastern Europe, including Warsaw Pact member states, three former Soviet republics, and former Yugoslav federal republics.