Russia admits deporting Montenegrin MP was revenge move

By bne IntelliNews May 30, 2017

Miodrag Vukovic, an MP from Montenegro’s ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, was deported from Russia in response to Podgorica’s decision to join the sanctions against Moscow imposed by the European Union, a Russian foreign ministry official admitted on May 29. Russia deported Vukovic earlier that day, declaring him persona non-grata.

Tensions between Podgorica and Moscow have been increasing since Montenegro set joining Nato and the European Union as its top priority. Last year, relations sharply worsened after Montenegro’s prosecution claimed two Russians were behind a planned coup aimed at seizing power by force after the October 16 general election.

“It is no secret that Montenegro instantly joined the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions, including sanctions on individuals. We have always said that we reserve the right to take response measures on the basis of reciprocity as is done in diplomatic practice,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zankina said in a statement.

She added that Montenegro “continues fanning anti-Russian hysteria amid the general decline in bilateral relations”. 

Montenegro has been part of the sanctions against Russia since the EU has imposed them, but until now Moscow has no retaliated. It has only banned imports of certain goods from the Adriatic country.

However, anti-Montenegrin propaganda in Russia seems to has intensified since April after Montenegro's Special Prosecutor for Organised Crime, Milivoje Katnic, filed an indictment against the two Russians as well as nine Serbian citizens and one Montenegrin, accusing them of having played the key roles in the coup plot.

The investigation revealed the plot had been organised and financed by two Russians, of whom one is allegedly member of Russia’s security services.

Recently, Russian officials warned citizens not to travel to Montenegro, claiming that the situation was "unfavourable" for them. Zankina said in a statement that Russians could face arrest on “questionable charges” should they risk a visit.

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