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NATO membership forced upon Montenegro in exchange for Russophobia — Lavrov

June 06, 14:26 UTC+3

"This is a purely geopolitical project that does nothing to enhance the security of NATO," Russia's top diplomat said

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© EPA/SHAWN THEW

KALININGRAD, June 6. /TASS/. Montenegro’s accession to NATO is a purely geopolitical project imposed on the country in exchange for Russophobic sentiment, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference following talks with visiting Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajcak on Tuesday.

The situation in Ukraine, he said, was used as a pretext for NATO’s consolidation, for "speculating about a Russian threat once again and for carrying out an unprecedented buildup of the alliance’s military and technical presence near Russian borders."

"Implementing these plans required creation of an enemy image. For that reason the Russia - NATO Council was frozen. There was no dialogue. But there followed demands, ultimatums and groundless charges," he recalled. "Within the framework of that campaign all countries of the Balkan Peninsula were strongly urged to join the anti-Russian campaign."

"Some countries, such as Serbia and Macedonia, refused to do that and NATO’s leaders developed a grudge against them," Lavrov stated. "In Montenegro these demands fell on fertile soil. The Montenegrin leadership was promised that its problems with the law in the context of accession to the alliance would be forgotten.

"This is a purely geopolitical project that does nothing to enhance the security of NATO. It causes extra spending by the alliance’s member-states, because they will have to incorporate Montenegro’s territory in military and technical terms," he said. "Nor will it strengthen the security of Montenegro, because nobody has threatened Montenegro or can threaten it."

Lavrov said that hysterical Russophobic voices heard in Podgorica evoked only regret and a smile.

"In exchange for Montenegro’s loyalty to anti-Russian sanctions it was forced to accept NATO membership," Lavrov said. "This trend takes us back to the policy of dividing lines in Europe and undermines numerous promises made by the Western leaders about the need to maintain equal and indivisible security. This policy leads into a dead end. It will bring about nothing good."

At the same time Lavrov said that "Moscow is prepared for dialogue but only on an equitable basis, on the basis of specific facts and concrete comparison of potentials and military activity."

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