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January 21, 2020
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Two Russian agents among others sentenced in Montenegro coup plot

Two Russian military intelligence offices among others were found guilty of attempting Montenegrin government in 2016.

A  local court in Montenegro sentenced 14 people including two Russian military intelligence officers, two Montenegrin opposition leaders, nine Serbian citizens and another Montenegrin to up to 15 years in the coup plot case.

The court sentence Russian agents Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov in absentia to 15 and 12 years respectively, for “attempted terrorism” and “creating a criminal organisation”.

Two leading ethnic Serb opposition politicians of the Montenegrin Democratic Front, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, were sentenced to five years each.

Bratislav Dikic, the former commander of a Serbian police unit, the Gendarmerie was also sentenced to eight years in prison.

The court found the group intended to take over parliament on election day on October 16, 2016 and assassinate then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic in order to set up a pro-Russia, anti-NATO leadership.

However, Montenegro’s police successfully thwarted the attempt, after being tipped-off by Western spy organisations.

Djukanovic has led the country for three decades either as prime minister or president and has set the country on a Euro-Atlantic course.

Montenegro subsequently joined NATO in June 2017, becoming its 29th member, despite strong opposition from Russia, which views the country as a historic Orthodox Christian, Slav ally.