Russia involved in failed coup attempt in Montenegro, says prosecutor
Russian authorities were involved in a coup attempt in Montenegro last October, with the aim of thwarting the Balkan country’s bid to join NATO, special prosecutor Milivoje Katnić said on Sunday, February 19.
“So far we have had evidence that Russian nationalist structures were behind [the plot], but now also that Russian state bodies were involved at a certain level,” he told local media. “The organs of the Russian state must investigate which bodies are involved and open a criminal trial over these acts.”
According to him, an investigation, carried out with assistance from the intelligence services of “friendly countries”, including the United States and Great Britain, revealed that Aleksandar Sinđelić, a nationalist Serb, had been invited to Moscow by Eduard Sismakov, a member of “Russian military structures”, to be asked for help in preventing Montenegro from entering NATO. “That is the sole motivation of these structures,” Katnić said.
Montenegrin prosecutors suspect 25 people, mostly Serbs, of links to the alleged coup, and have launched a manhunt for two Russians, including Sismakov, who is believed to be the main organiser.
The alleged coup plans published after arrests of the suspected plotters last October envisaged, inter alia, seizing the governmental residence, detaining some members of the government and assassinating others.
Montengero signed a NATO accession protocol in May 2016 and is expected to become a full-fledged member of the alliance after it has passed all relevant procedures by mid 2017.