A NATO exercise is unfolding in Montenegro since Monday, while Russia is accused of orchestrating a coup attempt.
The NATO exercise engages troops from 32 member and partner states and is meant to address a natural disaster scenario. The exercise will last until Friday.
NATO troops are in Montenegro two weeks after an alleged failed coup on the election day (October 16); Montenegrin officials claim the attempt was backed by Russia. The alleged plan involved an occupation of the parliament and handpicking a government of their own preference.
The question of Russian involvement
The interim Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic, says authorities are still investigating “the extent of Russian and Serbian involvement.” But, he added, there is no evidence to date that domestic opposition was involved. The face of the attempt is the retired Gendarmerie commander Bratislav Dikic. Dikic insists he has been framed.
Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, said on Monday that Serbian authorities had arrested people linked with the alleged coup, who are not linked to Serbia. The Police seized uniforms and €125,000.
The Serbian Prime Minister spoke of “third country” involvement, although he did not specify which country. Last Tuesday, Russia’s Security chief Nikolai Petrushev was in Belgrade for consultation.
Relations between Podgorica and Moscow have become tense since Montenegro accepted an invitation to join the Alliance in December 2015; following the Warsaw Summit, Montenegro is expected to formally join the Alliance in the Spring of 2017.
Djukanovic steps down
Montenegro is expected to have a new government on November 10, after the resignation of Djukanovic last week. Djukanovic has ruled Montenegro since 1991, as the\ leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists.
Djukanovic nominated as his successor the former head of the intelligence services and Deputy Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.