Accessibility links

Breaking News

Montenegro Court To Open Trial On Alleged Coup Attempt

The defendants include lawmakers Andrija Mandic (right) and Milan Knezevic (left)

Fourteen suspects, including two pro-Russian opposition leaders in Montenegro are expected to go on trial on July 19 over their role in an alleged attempt to overthrow the government.

The defendants include lawmakers Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic of the Democratic Front, nine Serbian citizens, two Russian citizens, and one other Montenegrin. The two Russians will be tried in absentia.

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

Mandic has denied any wrongdoing and said the affair was staged to discredit his pro-Russian party, the Democratic Front.

Montenegro says "Russian state bodies" were involved in the alleged plot, but Russia denies the claim.

Montenegro became NATO's 29th member on June 5, marking a historic turn toward the West amid protests from traditional ally Russia and the country's pro-Russian political opposition.

Russia has criticized the tiny Balkan state's joining NATO, with the Russian Foreign Ministry saying Moscow reserves the right to take "retaliatory measures" on what it called "anti-Russian hysteria" there.

Based on reporting by AFP,