Below is the text of the statement made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, on 9 May 2019.

The failed coup attempt against Montenegro in 2016 was one of the most outrageous examples of Russia’s attempts to undermine European democracy. The GRU’s brazen attempt to interfere with Montenegro’s national elections and undermine Montenegro’s application to join NATO is yet another example of destabilising and aggressive Russian behaviour over the last decade.

The guilty verdicts announced today against the 2 Russian intelligence officers responsible for plotting this coup were the conclusion of Montenegrin legal proceedings of unprecedented transparency. In the face of such overwhelming evidence, Russia’s claims that the 2 men were researching an article about the Russian military in the region during the First World War were proven to be absurd.

Russia is a great country and central to European civilisation. Moscow must desist from any attacks that undermine the territorial integrity and democratic processes of its neighbours or other sovereign states. The UK calls on Russia to choose a different path – to uphold the security of Europe, respect the rules based international system that keeps our societies safe, and to work together with us to fulfil our common responsibilities as permanent members of the UN Security Council.