Russia on August 3 denounced what it called "destabilizing" comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on his tour of the Western Balkans and said they exposed a Cold War mentality in Washington.
Pence said on August 2 in Montenegro that "Russia has worked to destabilize the region, undermine your democracies, and divide you from each other and from the rest of Europe.” He urged Balkan leaders to "be resolute and uncompromising in the face of [Russian] aggression."
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Pence presented false and "destructive" choices that will "inevitably lead to mounting tensions" in the Balkans.
"The United States is actively peddling the thesis that there is no alternative for Southeastern Europe to joining NATO," it said.
"It is regrettable to note that Washington is sliding ever deeper into the primitive ideology of the Cold War era, which is completely detached from reality," it said.
Pence's tour, which also included stops in Estonia and Georgia, was aimed in part at reassuring countries rattled by Russia's military actions in Ukraine and Georgia and what Western governments say are its efforts to influence politics and people in Europe and North America.
Montenegro, which joined NATO in June, has accused Russia of fomenting a coup attempt last year to try to block its accession to the Western alliance.
With reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax