Russia Was Behind Coup, Assassination Plot, Montenegro Says

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Russia tried to overthrow Montenegro’s government and assassinate former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic during last year’s general elections, a prosecutor in the former Yugoslav republic said.

Evidence collected by authorities in Podgorica show that “nationalist structures from Russia” were behind the plan to oust Djukanovic “but now we know that Russian state bodies were also involved,” Milivoje Katnic, the country’s special prosecutor, said on TV late Sunday. “It’s up to Russian state institutions to investigate how this happened.”

Senior Whitehall and NATO sources said the plot appeared to be genuine and was orchestrated by Russian intelligence officers with backing from Moscow, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported on Feb. 18.

Montenegro, a Balkan European Union candidate that’s slated to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization this year, arrested 20 people, mostly ethnic Serbs, during its October election. It said they were part of a Russian-organized coup to stop the country’s western-accession path.

Russia has denied any role in the alleged plot. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the administration rejects “irresponsible” accusations by the prosecutor.