According to Montenegro chief special prosecutor, the officials have all the reasons to believe that Russian security authorities plotted an attempted murder of the then-Prime Minister and pushed forth with the coup attempt in late last year.
A local TV station, Atlas TV, cited Milivoje Katnic saying that Russia’s Federal Security Service spearheaded the failed coup attempt. The allegations were quickly denied by the Russian officials, reports CNN.
The entire plot was centered at blocking Montenegro from being part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO.
Katnic said that there were of course other players in the coup attempt but Russia was involved to a certain level.
According to Katnic, one man by the name Eduard Sismakov was the mastermind of the crumbled coup. The accused is a former deputy Russian military attaché in Poland. The prosecutor added that Sismakov was deported to Russia in 2014 over espionage.
He added that Russian authorities issued Eduard Shirokov with a new Russian passport under a different name.
“The passport was given to him by certain Russian state bodies under another name, and he is a member of the Russian military structures,” Katnic said. “And his name is Eduard Sismakov, that is his personal identity and we will charge him under that personal identity.”
Katnic speculated that the new name was assigned to the man so that he could be free to “organize everything”. He added that the organization was with the help of certain structures which he says it is up to the Russian authorities to identify who the participants are.
According to the Interpol Red Notice, Sismakov, identified by the name Eduard Shirokov, acted against the Montenegro constitutional order and security. The Interpol Red Notice keeps an international data on suspects. This database is shared amongst several law enforcement agencies.
Sismakov was born in Russia.
Katnic also alleges that the other mastermind of the coup is Vladimir Popov, who Interpol is hunting over the same allegations.
Then there is Nemanja Ristic who has been linked to Russia’s Federal Security Service. His role was to hire a team that would be posted in Montenegro to carry out the coup.
The Interpol Red Notice reports that Ristic faces other accusations including terrorism charges.
But Kremlin hasn’t taken the allegations kindly; dismissing Katnic’s accusations as one of those the administration faces on a daily basis.
“Day after day we deny these accusations. We say absolutely that there cannot be talk about the official involvement of Moscow in the internal events in Montenegro,” said Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin’s spokesperson.
He added that Russia cannot and will never engage with such countries with each it has a bad relationship.
Montenegro is in the process of finalizing talks to be part of NATO, a move that has drawn widespread threats from Russia. If the country manages to push through, it will be protected by the NATO members and Russia wouldn’t dare attack it.
NATO has explained the ratification for the whole process is in its final stages.