Moscow, Russia. After the earlier Montenegrin expulsion of Russian diplomatic personnel, the favor has now been returned with a twist; the former President of the country and a number of political figures are unable to enter Russia for any reason.

Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković, former head of state and leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists Milo Đukanović, parliament spokesperson Ivan Brajović and a number of other Montenegrin politicians were placed on the Russian sanctioned individuals list.

The restrictive measures were introduced against a total of 70 people, 46 of them being members of the Montenegrin parliament. As some are already finding it out, it can make life quite difficult to end up on the Russian sanctions list if you live anywhere in eastern europe.

MP Miodrag Vuković from the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists was denied entry to Russia in Domodedovo airport. The politician, who was in transit from Moscow to Minsk for the parliamentary assembly of the Central European Initiative, was informed that he is on the list of persona non grata, and would have to be deported to his homeland. The Montenegrin Foreign Ministry later sent a protest memorandum to Russian Ambassador Sergei Gritsay.

On the morning of May 28, Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanović said that Russia had “actively interfered in the internal affairs” of the country, by trying to stop Podgorica from joining NATO. Moscow called these accusations an attempt to justify joining the North Atlantic Alliance and simply decided to stop indulging the Montenegrins any further.

Montenegro will officially join NATO on June 5. The country will become the 29th member of the organization. Moscow said that it reserves the right to make a decision to protect its national safety in connection with Podgorica’s decision to join the bloc.

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