Senator McCain concerned over Russia’s activity in Montenegro

The US Senator John McCain expressed his concerns and condemned Russia’s actions in Montenegro.

Srdjan Ilic: US senator John McCain
Photo: Srdjan Ilic / US senator John McCain

During his visit to Serbia on Monday, Senator McCain expressed concerns over Russia’s involvement in the attempt of overtopping the Government of Montenegro at the parliamentary elections in October last year.

“I express my concerns about Russia’s actions, including the recent attempt to overthrow the Government of Serbia’s neighbor, Montenegro,” said Senator McCain.

In February, Montenegrin Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katanic accused certain state structures of Russia of being behind the alleged overtopping of the Government in Montenegro. He said that the purpose of that terrorist attempt was to stop Montenegro’s accession to NATO.

Kremlin denied all allegations on the involvement in terrorist plot on Montenegrin soil.

“Day after day, we hear absurd allegations against Russia, and day after day, we deny them,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

According to Peskov, Russia is not interfering in the internal affairs of the sovereign states, “especially of those like Montenegro, with which Russia has very good relations.”

The Prosecutor’s Office of Montenegro suspected 25 people of organizing a criminal group and of attempted terrorism on the election day on 16th October last year. Among 25 suspected men are two Russian citizens who are allegedly members of the Russian military secret service. However, among those arrested, the majority are the citizens of Serbia. Also, arrested were the two high ranking officials of the opposition parliamentary party, Democratic Front (DF).

Most of the arrested Serbian citizens signed an agreement with the Special Prosecution of Montenegro pleading guilty. In accordance with the agreement, they were released from custody while others who refused to sign the agreement stayed in prison.

The Prosecution of Montenegro has demanded the extradition of two more Serbian citizens accused of involvement in the terrorist act, Pregrad Bogicevic and Nemanja Ristic, but they have not been extradited yet.

In the beginning of March, the Belgrade High Court refused the request of the Prosecution of Montenegro to extradite Predrag Bogicevic, stating that the request was ungrounded.

Nimanja Ristic, who was arrested in mid January in Serbia, was conditionally released by the Belgrade High Court. He was also a suspect in the case of terrorism in Montenegro. Ristic also has a criminal record and had been previously sentenced to “mandatory psychiatric treatment.”

Despite Montenegro's investigation against him, Ristic managed to take a photo with the Russian head of diplomacy Sergey Lavrov on 12th December, during Lavrov’s official visit to Serbia.

Special Public Prosecutor's Office of Montenegro has announced recently that it will have an indictment for attempted terrorism on the election day by 15th April this year, when the deadline for the decision of the Prosecutor's Office expires.

The US Senate backed Montenegro’s membership in NATO on 28th March, making it a step closer to this army alliance.

 Mina Milanovic

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