Reported Expulsions Overshadow Russian Safety Chief’s Serbia Go to
The Belgrade newspaper says Serbia evicted nameless Russians in connection with events in Montenegro – where authorities claim they recently foiled a coup.
|The Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev (left), and the Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic (right). Photo: Beta / Serbian MP / MO|
Serbia has expelled several Russians for alleged involvement in illegal activities in Montenegro, where authorities claim they prevented a coup, Serbian daily Danas reported Thursday.
The newspaper cited unnamed sources close to the Serbian government, but did not reveal the names of the displaced persons, and BIRN was unable to independently verify this information.
The Russian embassy in Belgrade told BIRN on Thursday that it could not confirm or reject the reports.
The reported expulsions come when the head of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, visits Serbia and advocates closer cooperation between the respective secret services of the countries.
Petrushev arrived in Serbia Wednesday after Montenegro suspected Moscow was behind an alleged coup in preparation for election day in the republic on October 16.
On Monday, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia had arrested several people for planning illegal activities in Montenegro – but insisted that the Serbian state had nothing to do with those acts and mentioned ties to a third, unnamed country.
Patrushev has meanwhile called for Russian and Serbian security authorities to work more closely together.
Belgrade maintains close political and military ties with Russia, in particular refusing to join the EU sanctions imposed on Moscow over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its perceived role in the separatist armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Some analysts link Petrushev’s visit with allegations by the Serbian government that a third country was involved in illegal operations on Montenegrin soil.
Belgrade-based analyst and correspondent from Moscow, Slobodan Samardzija, told BIRN: “Russia has decided to play a little harder. The EU is in crisis because of its disagreement, and the US is in a vacuum that has resulted in Balkans cycling and trading. Everyone is looking for something for themselves. “
At a meeting with Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic in Belgrade, Patrushev proposed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Interior Ministry, which should be signed in 2017.
The agreement would establish regular communication between the security authorities of the two countries, albeit not on a legally binding basis.