Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Russian security services were involved in the attempted assassination of Montenegro's prime minister in October, the Montenegrin special prosecutor said.
Milivoje Katnic implicated Russia in October's failed coup of Montenegro's government in a television interview Sunday. He added the plot and the assassination plan were attempts to keep Montenegro, a republic formed in 2006 after the breakup of Yugoslavia, from taking actions leading to NATO membership.
In November, Montenegrin authorities announced they foiled the attempted overthrow, arresting 50 people from Montenegro, Serbia and Russia.
"Behind these events are nationalist structures from Russia, but we now know that certain Russian state authorities were involved also on a certain level," Katnic told Atlas TV.
The assassination attempt on then-Primer Minister Milo Djukanovic was led by Eduard Sismakov, also known as Eduard Shirokov, a Russian military attache who was deported from Poland to Russia in 2014 after espionage charges, Katnic said. The Interpol Red Notice, an international database of criminal suspects, notes that Sismakov, under the name Shirakov, prepared acts against Montenegro's order and security.
The television interview came after the British newspaper The Telegraph published similar accusations on Sunday. The Russian Embassy in London rejected the accusations, calling them attempts "to stoke tensions with Russia."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented, "Day after day we hear absurd accusations against Russia; day after day we disprove them. With all due responsibility, we declare that there can be no talk of the involvement of official Moscow or any officials from Russia in the internal events in Montenegro. Russia did not, does not, and will not interfere in the internal affairs of other states, especially such as Montenegro, with whom we have very good relations."