Russia condemns Montenegro’s approval of NATO accession
Russia on Friday condemned Montenegro's approval of its accession to NATO in a parliamentary vote boycotted by pro-Russian opposition parties.
“We must acknowledge with deep regret that the current leadership of the country and its Western patrons did not listen to the voice of reason and conscience,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Forty-six of 81 Montenegrin deputies voted in favour of joining the alliance, after a small group of protesters burned a NATO flag outside the session held in the historic capital of Cetinje.
The Russian foreign ministry said the move represented a “demonstrative crackdown on all democratic norms and principles.”
“The will of nearly half of the country’s population, speaking out against the ‘NATO priority’ in foreign policy, has been ignored,” the ministry said.
“Moscow cannot but consider the strategic consequences of this step and thus we reserve the right to take decisions aimed at protecting our interests and national security.”
The Balkan country, home to around 620,000 people, is expected to become an official member by late May, when a NATO summit will be held in Brussels.
The accession of Montenegro will complete the bloc’s presence along the Adriatic coast as Greece, Albania and Croatia are already members.
Moscow has long considered Montenegro, whose population is mostly Slavic Orthodox, to be within its sphere of influence.