MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Moscow notes that the Montenegrin society is deeply divided on the issue of joining NATO and calls for a referendum on joining the North Atlantic Alliance, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Wedensday.
"The situation in Montenegro is difficult," Zakharova said. "We are talking about an internal political crisis accompanied by popular protests. So, deep divisions persist in the Montenegrin society, first of all on the issue of the country’s NATO membership," she added.
"We think that the Montenegrin people should have their say at the referendum on this issue," she added. "This would be a manifestation of democracy that we call for," she stressed.
The NATO foreign ministers officially invited Montenegro to start negotiations on joining NATO at a summit in Brussels in early December. The talks are expected to last from 18 months to two years. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hurried to assure that Montenegro’s integration with NATO was not directed against Russia and was of no relation to it.
Russian officials have numerously spoken out against NATO's expansion in the Balkans.