US Vice President Mike Pence praised Montenegrin leaders on August 1 for standing up to “Russian pressure” on his final stop of an Eastern European tour aimed at reassuring US allies in the region.
Pence arrived in the tiny Balkan nation, NATO’s newest member, after a visit to Georgia, where he slammed Russia’s “occupation” of the Caucasus nation’s territory.
At a dinner with Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, and other Montenegrin political leaders, Pence said his trip to the nation of 620,000 is “testament to the fact that America has no small allies — only strong allies.”
“Your courage, particularly in the face of Russian pressure, inspires the world, and I commend you for it,” he said.
Montenegro has accused Russia of fomenting a coup attempt last year to try to block its closer alliance with the West.
Two Russian nationals are among 14 people charged with taking part in the alleged plot. Moscow dismisses the accusations.
On August 2, Pence is due to attend the Adriatic Charter summit — a gathering that also brings together leaders from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Slovenia.