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Bellingcat Names Second GRU Agent In Failed Montenegrin Coup


The Interpol images of the Montenegro coup suspects

The investigative group Bellingcat and Russian website The Insider say they have identified a second Russian GRU military intelligence officer allegedly involved in a 2016 coup attempt in Montenegro.

Authorities in Montenegro have accused two Russian GRU officers of organizing the failed coup plot to prevent the small Balkan country from joining NATO.

Moscow, which opposed Montenegro’s bid to join the military alliance, denied the allegations. Montenegro joined NATO in June.

Bellingcat and The Insider had previously named the first GRU suspect as Eduard Shishmakov.

On November 22, Bellingcat and The Insider said they had determined the name of the second suspect, naming him as Vladimir Moiseyev.

He had been known to Montenegro prosecutors under his cover identity, Vladimir Popov.

According to Bellingcat and The Insider, Moiseyev was recruited by the GRU sometime after studying in the mid-2000s at an academy in Tyumen, Siberia that is known for producing military engineers specializing in anything from radio-signal encryption to remote bomb detonation.

Later, he is believed to have served in a GRU airborne Spetsnaz unit that took part in operations during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia in the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

While operating under the cover identity of "Vladimir Popov" from 2012 to 2016, Moiseyev reportedly traveled around Europe posing as a "photo correspondent" and "journalist" working for a publication focused on the insurance industry.

Montenegro last year became the 29th member of NATO, a step that was bitterly criticized by Russia and opposed by some Montenegrins who advocate closer ties with Moscow.

Authorities in Montenegro say Serbian and Russian nationalists plotted to occupy parliament during October 2016 parliamentary elections, assassinate then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, and install a pro-Russian leadership to halt Montenegro's bid to join NATO.

With reporting by AP
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