06:54 GMT27 January 2020
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    Any criticism from Russia about Montenegro's accession to NATO would be unjustified, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Any negative reactions coming from Moscow regarding Montenegro's accession to NATO would be unjustified, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

    "It is a fundamental principle that every nation, every independent sovereign nation has the right to decide its own path, including to decide what kind of security arrangements it wants to be part of. Therefore, I very strongly believe that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to try to deny Montenegro that right to make their own independent, sovereign decisions. And therefore any sanctions or reactions from Russia will be absolutely unjustified," Stoltenberg told reporters.

    He added that Montenegro had made its sovereign choice, which had been supported by all 28 NATO member states and Russia's concerns on the issue had no grounds.

    The accession talks between NATO and Montenegro are expected to wrap up by the end of April

    On December 2, 2015, NATO invited Montenegro to join the military bloc, in its first expansion into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation the following day. The decision triggered protests in the capital, with some 5,000 opponents taking to the streets.

    NATO bombed the West Balkan state 17 years ago when Montenegro and Serbia were part of Yugoslavia.

    In February, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that drawing Montenegro into NATO humiliated people of the country still remembering the bombing of its cities by the alliance.


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