BELGRADE Montenegro's high court confirmed the indictment of 14 people, including two Russian nationals, local opposition politicians and a former Serbian police commander, over their role in an alleged Russia-backed plot last year.
The conspirators intended to halt Montenegro's joining NATO, assassinate former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and bring an opposition figure to power, the authorities said. The Kremlin dismissed the accusations as absurd.
Montenegro earlier said it had evidence that Russian state agencies and local pro-Serb and pro-Russian parties were involved in the plot at the time of an election in October 2016.
In a statement, the court said it confirmed the indictment of the defendants, identified only by their initials, which includes charges of "an attempted terrorist act" and "preparing a conspiracy against the constitutional order and the security of Montenegro."
A hearing will be set within two months, the court said.
On election day last October, Montenegrin authorities arrested 20 people, including Bratislav Dikic, a former Serbian police commander general, in connection with the alleged plot. Dikic denied his involvement.
They later also issued international arrest warrants against two Russian nationals as masterminds of the plot, including an intelligence officer who had previously served at the Russian embassy in Poland.
Also indicted were Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, politicians of the opposition Democratic Front, an anti-NATO alliance. Both rejected the charges.
Montenegro's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists narrowly won last year's elections. Montenegro formally became the 29th NATO member on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Larry King)