Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin is among 50 Russian politicians and businesspeople banned from entering Montenegro.
The news is a further sign of the worsening relationship between Russia and Montenegro, which in 2015 received an invitation to join Nato.
Rogozin was included in the list of persons who cannot enter the Adriatic country following the government’s decision to imposing sanctions against Russia in accordance with a decision of the European Union, broadcaster RTCG reported on Feburary 11.
Rogozin had been invited to visit Montenegro by Milan Knezevic, leader of the pro-Russian Democratic National Party (DNP), which is part of the opposition Democratic Front (DF).
The DF, a coalition of opposition parties, has organised several protests since September in an attempt to force Montenegro’s prime minister Milo Djukanovic to stand down. In 2015, Djukanovic accused Russia of backing the protesters in an attempt to stop Montenegro entering Nato.
Russia has fiercely opposed Nato’s expansion into its traditional sphere of influence, and the invitation raised tensions in the relations between Montenegro and Russia, which historically has close ties with the Adriatic country and is a major investor in the country.
Montenegro was once so popular with Russian tourists it was dubbed “Moscow on Sea”, but Podgorica has prioritised its quest for EU and NATO membership over preserving its relationship with Russia.
The DNP issued a statement on its website saying that it will ensure Rogozin’s safety if he decides to visit the country despite the ban.
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