Two Suspected Russian Agents Found Guilty in 2016 Montenegro Coup Attempt

A Montenegro court found 14 people guilty on Thursday for plotting a coup in 2016 to prevent the country from joining NATO, including two suspected Russian intelligence agents. According to The New York Times, Judge Susana Mugosa sentenced the Russians—named “Eduard Shirokov” and “Vladimir Popov” on their fake passports—to 15 and 12 years in prison for attempting to “terrorize Montenegrins, attack others, threaten and hurt basic constitutional and social structures.” However, “Shirokov” and “Popov” are believed to be back in Russia and it is unlikely that they will serve their sentences. At the time of their indictment, prosecutors accused the two Russians of overseeing an operation that would commit an “undetermined number of criminal acts of terrorism and the murder of highest-ranking representatives of Montenegro” as the country was entering a referendum vote on NATO membership. Prosecutors in the case did not directly state that the two men were working for the Russian government, but a picture in the fake passport of “Shirokov” matched a photo of an ex-Russian military attaché named Eduard Shishmakov who was expelled from Poland for spying.