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Russians Allegedly Planned To Stop European Country From Joining NATO By Killing Its PM

REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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A group of “Russian nationalists” were behind a failed coup attempt that included plans to assassinate Montenegro’s prime minister, the country’s special prosecutor said Sunday.

Milivoje Katnic, Montenegro’s chief special prosecutor, claims “nationalists from Russia” organized a criminal group to disrupt the Montenegrin election Oct. 16. The plan was to break into the Montenegro Parliament, kill Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and put pro-Russian parties in power.

Twenty suspects of Serbian and Montenegrin origin were arrested on the day of the election — accused of plotting attacks against state institutions.

“The organizers of this criminal group were nationalists from Russia whose initial premise and conclusion was that the government in Montenegro led my Milo Djukanovic cannot be changed in election and that it should be toppled by force,” Katnic said Sunday.

Montenegro received the go-ahead from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in May to become a member in the near future. Djukanovic and his pro-Western government plans to distance the country from traditional allies Serbia and Russia and instead deepen ties with NATO.

The Kremlin will lose strategic access to the Adriatic Sea when Montenegro becomes a NATO member. Serbia will further be Russia’s only ally left in the Balkans.

Katnic clarified that he doesn’t have any evidence to tie the Russian state to the coup.

“We don’t have any evidence that the state of Russia is involved in any sense … but we have evidence that two nationalists from Russia were organizers,” Katnic said.

Russian officials deny any involvement.

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