ISSN 2330-717X

Spy Photos ‘Prove’ Russian Plot In Montenegro: Report

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By Dusica Tomovic

The Telegraph published on Tuesday what it said were surveillance photographs “obtained by European intelligence agencies” that could offer “key proof” that Russian intelligence officers plotted a violent takeover of power in the Balkan state last October.

The coup would have ended in the assassination of Milo Djukanovic, the Montenegrin prime minister at the time, the newspaper said.

The photos allegedly show two officers of Russia’s GRU military spy service, Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov, meeting Serbian nationalist Sasa Sindjelic in a Belgrade park.

Sindjelic was allegedly hired to orchestrate the coup in Montenegro during the October 16 elections.

Shishmakov and Popov are to stand trial starting on September 6, alongside 13 others, for their part in the alleged plot to attack Montenegro’s parliament and Djukanovic in order to prevent the country joining NATO.

According to the Telegraph, the photographs are believed to have been taken in the Serbian capital around the time of the foiled coup.

The opposition in Montenegro and some anti-government media outlets continue to claim that the coup was staged by the authorities to ensure Djukanovic won another election.

Russia also has denied involvement in the alleged plot, although Moscow supports Montenegro’s Democratic Front and other opposition groups which oppose NATO membership and champion closer ties to the Kremlin.

Russia strongly objected to Montenegro joining NATO, and threatened unspecified retaliation after the country became a member of the Western military alliance in June.


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Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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