International

Montenegro defies Russia, joins NATO

Move to hit Russian influence in Europe

Once the Balkan stronghold of pro-Russian sentiments, tiny Montenegro on Monday joined the NATO in a historic turn that has made the Kremlin furious.

Despite the Russian anger and a deep split within the nation of some 6,20,000 people over the issue, Montenegro formally became the 29th member of the Western military alliance at a ceremony in Washington on Monday.

To get there, Montenegro has stood up against its former ally Russia, which has sought to maintain strong historic, political and cultural influence in the Slavic country it considers a special zone of interest.

Bringing Montenegro into the NATO further diminishes Russia’s influence in southeast Europe, and blocks it from the so-called “warm seas” in Europe that could be used as staging grounds for military interventions in the Middle East.

The U.S. State Department said Montenegro’s membership “will support greater integration, democratic reform, trade, security, and stability with all of its neighbours”.

Moscow threatens

Russia has threatened economic and political retaliation, including a campaign to undermine the Montenegrin tourism industry, which relies heavily on Russian visitors.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 7:02:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/montenegro-defies-russia-joins-nato/article18724411.ece

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