The Russian embassy in Podgorica accused US ambassador Judy Rising Reinke of pressurising Montenegrin political leaders and NGOs after she urged them to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Embassy Accuses US of Pressurising Montenegro

Russian ambassador Vladimir Maslenikov (centre) and Montenegrin PM Zdravko Krivokapic (right) in Podgorica. Photo: Government of Montenegro

The Russian embassy in Podgorica on Friday accused US ambassador Judy Rising Reinke of putting unnecessary pressure on Montenegrin politicians and NGOs to condemn the Russian war against Ukraine.

“The US ambassador requested that all political and civil society leaders in Montenegro condemn Russia’s activities without hesitation. It is obvious that according to this criterion, the American embassy will again decide who is a ‘worthy’ and who is an ‘unworthy’ partner,” the Russian Embassy said in a press release.

The diplomatic spat escalated after Reinke had an article published in domestic media on March 12 in which she urged political leaders and civil society leaders in Montenegro to unequivocally condemn the Russian invasion.

“This conflict could have a big impact on Montenegro as well because its security will also be endangered if Vladimir Putin continues the campaign of undermining European security. This is a choice between freedom and oppression,” Reinke said in the article.

On February 10, before the invasion began, the Russian and US embassies also traded accusations with one another over the Ukraine crisis.

After the US embassy called on Montenegro to stand with the Kyiv government, the Russian embassy accused it of promoting NATO expansionism and anti-Russian propaganda in Montenegro.

Opinion in Montenegro is divided about Russia and its invasion. The country has a large Serb population, which is traditionally sympathetic to Russia.

The country joined EU sanctions on Russia on March 1 but Montenegro’s government postponed adopting a plan to impose those restrictions for three weeks.

Montenegro said it would follow EU measures to ban Russian overflights of its airspace and access to its airports for Russian carriers, transactions with the Russian Central Bank and the Swift ban for seven Russian banks, and suspend broadcasting of Russian state-owned media.

Montenegrin law on international restrictive measures says the government has to officially confirm restrictions before their implementation and then send a list of measures to state institutions, which must implement them.

On March 7, Russia added Montenegro to a list of ‘enemy states’ for joining the EU sanctions.

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