14:41 GMT +318 August 2019
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    Montenegro's former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic (R) shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after a joint press conference in Podgorica, October 2015

    Lavrov Lashes Out at Montenegro's 'Russophobic, Unscrupulous' Allegations

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    The Russian foreign minister reiterated that Montenegro's government followed the trodden path of accusing Moscow of meddling just for the sake of justifying its own desire to join NATO.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday called "unscrupulous" the statements by Montenegrin authorities on alleged Russian interference in internal affairs of the country.

    "The fact that they [Montenegrin authorities] decided to justify their accession to NATO by some machinations on the part of Moscow, including interfering in their elections, sending some spies, scouts, recruiting relevant politicians — this is all unscrupulous," Lavrov addressing the audience at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University.

    According to the minister, "the Russophobic campaign, which has been unleashed against the background of the drive to join NATO, shows that Montenegro does not care about any pan-European principles, but wants to sell its anti-Russian statements as expensive as possible."

    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.

    On April 25, US President Donald Trump signed the protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO, which was the final step in ratifying the document.

    Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns over the further expansion of NATO into the east. Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the political course of Montenegro that sees them joining the alliance without holding a nationwide referendum.

    Montenegro was bombed by NATO in 1999.

    Topic:
    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

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    Russophobia, NATO, Sergei Lavrov, Montenegro, Russia
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