Montenegro police conducting raids in search of spy ring

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Montenegro police were raiding multiple locations in the country as part of an investigation into an alleged ring of spies, officials said Thursday.

The police were “searching several apartments and other premises used by (Montenegrin) citizens suspected of espionage and forming an international criminal organization,” said Vukas Radonjic from the Special State Prosecutor’s Office. Radonjic added that “so far, no suspects have been arrested.”

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic praised the police during a meeting of his cabinet Thursday, saying the raids were prepared “in cooperation with our international partners and aimed at protecting (Montenegro’s) national security.”

Officials refused to provide more details of the operation, but local media — citing anonymous sources — reported that it targeted several Montenegrin nationals suspected of spying for Russia and working to advance the interests of its government.

Montenegro, a former ally that turned its back on Russia to join NATO in 2017, has imposed sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine and is seen as next in line in the Western Balkans to join the European Union. The country is divided between those favoring pro-Western policies and the pro-Serbian and pro-Russian camps, raising tensions.

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