Montenegrin boxers sent back amid fears of ‘foreign infiltrators’ in alleged Russian coup

A group of Montenegrin boxers said on Wednesday that they had been denied entry to Moldova for a competition amid claims that agitators from Montenegro and other countries may have been involved in an alleged Moscow coup attempt, Reuters reports.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu said on Monday that Russia was preparing to overthrow the tiny east European nation’s government with assistance from citizens of Montenegro, Belarus, and Serbia. One objective, according to her, was to thwart Moldova’s efforts to join the EU.

Sandu has urged “maximum vigilance” after obtaining intelligence papers from Ukraine that she said revealed Russian plans to destabilize Moldova by deploying agents provocateurs to assault government facilities while seeming to be in public rallies.

“Documents received from our Ukrainian partners show documentation of the locations and logistical aspects of organizing these subversions,” Sandu said. “The plan also involves the use of people from outside the country for violent actions.”

According to Reuters, police allegedly stopped Budva boxing club members at the airport in Chisinau late on Tuesday and urged the Montenegrin boxers to take the first flight back on Wednesday without providing a reason.

“After several hours of waiting, our athletes’ papers were confiscated and they were told to return on the first plane,” the Budva boxing club said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

On the same day, another group of Serbian football fans who had flown to Moldova to attend a match was also stopped over suspicions that they may be covert saboteurs. Apparently, for security purposes, Moldova’s airspace was temporarily shut down on Tuesday.

The coup allegations were rejected as “unfounded and unsubstantiated” by Russian authorities, who also rejected the allegations and demanded an explanation from Serbian and Montenegro authorities, Balkan Insight reports.

On Wednesday, Sandu and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met to talk about her remarks on the dangers of a coup and to express their commitment to work together to stop illicit activities involving their respective citizens.

Representatives from the governments of Moldova and Montenegro also decided to share information on any possible unlawful activity carried out by their citizens.

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