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    Montenegrin Foreign Ministry Protests Lawmaker's Deportation From Russia

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    Montenegro lodged a note of protest to Russian Ambassador in Podgorica Sergey Gritsay over the deportation of Miodrag Vukovic, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), from Russia, the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

    BELGRADE (Sputnik) On Sunday, Vukovic headed to Minsk via Moscow for the parliamentary assembly of the Central European Initiative, but was detained at the Domodedovo airport in Moscow, since he was said to be a persona non grata in Russia and therefore must be deported to Montenegro. The first flight back to Montenegro was on Monday morning and took the lawmaker home. The lawmaker then complained to local media over having been kept in "inhumane" conditions which exacerbated his chronic health condition.

    "On the occasion of the last night's restraint of Miodrag Vukovic, Member of the Montenegrin Parliament at the Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, the Russian Ambassador to Montenegro Sergei Nikolaevich Gricaj was called at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were Acting Director General for Bilateral Affairs Ivan Lekovic and Acting Director General for Consular Affairs Selim Lika, delivered him a protest note," the statement said.

    The country's foreign ministry stressed that the detention was unjustified, and the Russian authorities allegedly failed to provide the basic conditions to the lawmaker.

    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 NATO.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the claims, saying that the numerous accusations of Russia's alleged meddling in domestic affairs were aimed at justifying the country's accession to NATO in the eyes of the nation.

    Montenegro was invited to join NATO on December 2, 2015, in the alliance's first expansion into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation the following day, a move which triggered protests in the Balkan nation. In May 2016, the alliance members signed a protocol on Podgorica's accession to be ratified by all NATO member states before becoming a full-fledged member. According to NATO, the accession process is expected to finish by June 2017.

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