The ministers of NATO, a 28-member international military and political alliance, are scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels and will likely issue a unanimous invitation for Montenegro to join the group, the Guardian reported. If Montenegro joined, it would be the first new member since 2009 and would likely cause increased tensions with Russia, which has long seen NATO as encroaching on its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
“Montenegro has come a long way on its path to join the Euro-Atlantic family,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday. “Extending an invitation to Montenegro to start accession talks would be a historic decision. It would signal our continued commitment to the Western Balkans.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described any expansion of the organization as a “provocation” to Moscow. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the subsequent war in Eastern Ukraine, NATO has worked closely with its Eastern European partners, particularly in recent months.
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