Russia is seriously concerned about Montenegro's accelerated integration into NATO, Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Gurko said in Podgorica on Thursday, urging the country to consider the pros and cons of joining the alliance.

Gurko said that Russia's position on NATO's enlargement was well known and had not changed. The Russian Federation assumes that the NATO enlargement project today is contrary to the actual needs in the security sphere, he told a briefing for selected journalists.

NATO's eastward expansion is not taking into account the interests of all countries within the Euro-Asian community but is continuing to lead to new divisions and is perpetuating Cold War stereotypes, Gurko was quoted by MINA news agency as saying.

We believe that Montenegro's accession to this military and political alliance may not only cause long-term damage to traditionally friendly Russian-Montenegrin relations, but also jeopardise the entire work on forming the pan-European security architecture, the Russian diplomat said.

The Russian lower house of parliament, the Duma, is expected to adopt a declaration on Friday opposing Montenegro's entry into NATO.

A bloc-style approach to security and dragging new countries into military alliances despite the will of their people is a political instrument dating from the times of the Cold War, the draft document says, according to media.

The desire of the regime of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who has led the country for 15 years, to join NATO contradicts the will of the majority of the Montenegrin people. The artificial pushing of Montenegro into NATO is a direct violation of the right of its people to determine their own destiny and tramples the memory of the innocent victims of the 1999 bombing, the document says, alluding to NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia to force it to end violence and pull its troops from Kosovo.

The document says that Montenegro's intention to join NATO deals a heavy blow to traditionally friendly Russian-Montenegrin relations.

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