Chechnya's Kadyrov named in Montenegro coup case - media

Chechnya's Kadyrov named in Montenegro coup case - media

Montenegrin opposition leaders, Milan Knezevic and Andrija Mandic, accused of staging a 2016 coup in the Balkan state, allegedly with Moscow’s assistance, have handed over a letter to the Russian Embassy addressed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

In this letter, the politicians asked for Moscow’s support and informed the Russian minister that the indictments at the trial include the name of Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov. According to prosecutors, the Chechen leader allegedly conducted propaganda among the Montenegrin Muslim community in favor of cooperation with the Democratic Front opposition alliance to seek regime change in Montenegro.

In an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, Knezevic described this as an attempt to discredit the Democratic Front, which is trying to establish economic and cultural ties with Chechnya. "That’s an attempt to whip up conspiracy theories involving "the Russian connection" in the Montenegro elections," he noted, adding that the trial’s objective is to justify the current regime’s policy, which meets the interests of Western countries. "It is Washington that needs military bases and anti-Russian sanctions rather than the Montenegrin people," he stressed.

The current trial against the alleged organizers of the election-day coup in Montenegro began on July 29, 2017. There are 13 defendants in the case, including two Russian nationals. The prosecution’s evidence is based on testimony of a key witness Sasa Sindjelic who is wanted in Croatia for murder. He claimed that he was in Moscow on September 26-27 where he received money from Russian special agents, along with instructions on carrying out a coup.

Moscow has repeatedly rejected all allegations about its involvement in Montenegrin developments. According to Lavrov, "the results of the work by the Montenegrin investigators presented at the court hearings show that the charges are absurd and groundless."