Dozens of Serb nationalists hold pro-Russia rally in Montenegro

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By Euronews
An opposition supporter waves an old Serbian flag during a protest in front of an Orthodox Church in Montenegro in 2020.
An opposition supporter waves an old Serbian flag during a protest in front of an Orthodox Church in Montenegro in 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Risto Bozovic, FILE

A group of Serb nationalists in Montenegro have rallied in support of Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.

Around 100 people attended a demonstration in front of an Orthodox Church in the central city of Nikšić on Monday.

Many chanted their support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as the "guardian of the Orthodox Church".

One of the large banners carried by those gathered read “Serbs in Montenegro, Russians in Ukraine”.

Others expressed their hope that Moscow could help Serbia reclaim Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Belgrade has refused to recognise the declaration.

The rally was organised and led by a local group calling itself the "Free Citizens of Nikšić".

Montenegro's President Milo Djukanović has formally condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, amid the country's own political crisis. The western Balkan country also joined NATO in 2017 despite strong opposition from Russia.

Montenegrins remain deeply divided over their country’s ties with neighbouring Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is the nation’s dominant religious institution. Around 30% of Montenegro’s 620,000 people consider themselves Serb.

Since Montenegro split from Serbia in 2006, pro-independence Montenegrins have advocated for a recognised Orthodox Christian church that is separate from the Serbian one.

Additional sources • ANSA