Political groups that oppose Montenegro's bid to join NATO on May 26 seized on an incident at the NATO summit where U.S. President Donald Trump shoved the Montenegrin prime minister aside on his way to a group photo session.
Trump pushed past Dusko Markovic on May 25 in a move that Markovic dismissed as "harmless" but which drew derision and outrage from NATO critics in the Balkan country and Russia.
"Dusko Markovic has banged on for years about Montenegro becoming a NATO member...which will be respected and will be at the table where decisions are taken," said Jovan Vucurovic, spokesman for the opposition Democratic Front.
"Well, now we've seen just what the president of a world power thinks of that," he said, adding, "The problem isn't what Trump did... It's the fact that Markovic excused it and humbly sought to justify" Trump's aggressive behavior.
Montenegro's decision to formally join NATO on June 5 has also angered Moscow.
Russian news agency TASS on May 26 ran a story relating online comments about the Trump incident by Montenegrins who it said were demanding an apology from Trump and even calling for "sanctions" against the United States for "humiliating" Markovic.