Russia Slams Djukanovic over Ukraine Statements
Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday expressed “deep disappointment” about Milo Djukanovic's recent "hostile statements at the expense of Russia".
During Djukanovic’s official visit to Washington in April, the Prime Minister said events in Ukraine should be properly interpreted, and called for a "bold start" to the further expansion of the Euro-Atlantic zone of stability, especially in the Balkans.
"Montenegro recommends itself as someone who may be the next NATO member, to serve as a way for the Alliance to formulate its response to [events in] Ukraine," Dukanovic said in the US.
Later on Monday, Montenegro rejected as "improper and arbitrary" the opinions presented by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"All Djukanovic's statements, made publicly or during his talks with the US officials, are in line with Montenegro’s national interests and its foreign policy commitments to NATO and EU membership, and are not anti-Russian," the goverenment said.
Montenegro has close ties to Russia. According to Russian embassy in Podgorica, between 5,000 and 7,000 Russians are permanent residents in Montenegro. Russian nationals own more than 30 per cent of the foreign companies in Montenegro.
For years, Montenegro has been labeled the “Russian VIP resort”, as the preferred destination of Russian oligarchs.
According to some surveys, more than 40 per cent of real estate in Montenegro belongs to Russian politicians and billionaires.