Coup trial of 2 Russians, 12 others opens in Montenegro

The trial has opened of 14 alleged coup plotters, including two Russians, suspected of a foiled bid to overthrow the Montenegrin government to thwart the Balkan country's NATO bid.

The proceedings started Wednesday at a high court in Podgorica with the reading of the indictment. The defendants are charged with "creating a criminal organization" with the aim of undermining Montenegro's constitutional order.

The Russians — said by the prosecutor to be military secret service operatives for the Kremlin — are additionally charged with terrorism. They remain at large and are being tried in absentia.

The indictment alleges the group planned to take over parliament on Oct. 16, election day, assassinate then-prime minister Milo Djukanovic and install a pro-Russian, anti-NATO leadership.

Montenegro joined NATO in June despite strong opposition from Moscow.