Europe

Prime minister: Russia vs. West in Montenegro vote

  • A man walks by an election poster of pro-Western Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, reading: "With firm step ahead!", in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Montenegro's general election this weekend will decide whether the small Balkan state continues on a Western course, or becomes "a Russian colony," the country's prime minister said, as he faced the toughest challenge so far to his 25-year rule. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    A man walks by an election poster of pro-Western Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, reading: "With firm step ahead!", in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Montenegro's general election this weekend will decide whether the small Balkan state continues on a Western course, or becomes "a Russian colony," the country's prime minister said, as he faced the toughest challenge so far to his 25-year rule. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Opposition Democratic Front supporters light torches during a pre-election rally in Podgorica, Montenegro, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The Sunday general election in the tiny Balkan nation is the most significant since the vote for independence from much larger Serbia a decade ago. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)

    Opposition Democratic Front supporters light torches during a pre-election rally in Podgorica, Montenegro, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The Sunday general election in the tiny Balkan nation is the most significant since the vote for independence from much larger Serbia a decade ago. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Montenegro's long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists supporters wave with Montenegro's national flags during a pre-election rally in Podgorica, Montenegro, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The Sunday general election in the tiny Balkan nation is the most significant since the vote for independence from much larger Serbia a decade ago. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)

    Montenegro's long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists supporters wave with Montenegro's national flags during a pre-election rally in Podgorica, Montenegro, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The Sunday general election in the tiny Balkan nation is the most significant since the vote for independence from much larger Serbia a decade ago. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)  (The Associated Press)

Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic says a general election this weekend will decide whether the small Balkan state will continue on a Western course, or become "a Russian colony."

Djukanovic has told his supporters that the ballot on Sunday is the most important since the vote for independence from much bigger Serbia a decade ago.

Djukanovic said Friday: "Everyone is aware that the fate of the state will be decided ... whether Montenegro will become a member of the EU and NATO, or a Russian colony."

The vote pits Djukanovic's long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists against a cluster of pro-Russian and pro-Serbian opposition groups which staunchly oppose the country's NATO bid.

Djukanovic has accused the Kremlin of meddling in the election process by secretly financing the opposition parties.