MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic said that Russia tried to meddle in the country’s internal affairs in order to hamper Podgorica’s joining NATO. Darmanovic also called Russian investment into the country "ineffective."
“By opening unnecessary conflict with Russia, the regime is trying to gain favor of NATO mentors, but also to draw the attention of the Montenegrin people away from the disastrous economic and social situation and the fact that the country is facing bankruptcy,” Knezevic said.
Knezevic stressed that any further escalation of conflict with Russia by Montenegrin authorities would deteriorate bilateral relations causing negative consequence for Montenegro's economy, hitting the tourist sector in particular.
“Further provocation of conflict with Russia by the Montenegrin regime will further worsen relations between the two countries, but it can also lead to even stronger response by Russia which could inflict a mortal blow to the Montenegrin economy and tourism,” Knezevic added.Knezevic ruled out any possibility of Russia’s meddling in Montenegro domestic affairs. He added that Montenegrin foreign policy did not exist and was merely a reflection of the current anti-Russian trend set by NATO ambassadors in the country.
Montenegro was invited to join the NATO military alliance in December 2015. Montenegrin authorities accepted the invitation that caused mass protests throughout the country. On May 19, 2016, NATO member states signed the accession protocol. The accession process is expected to be finalized by June 2017.