PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Montenegro's defense minister says the Greek and Italian air forces will protect the airspace over the newest NATO-member state.

Predrag Boskovic told Montenegro's state TV on Monday that a technical agreement is in the works with the two neighboring states on air policing. Greece and Italy are also members of the Western military alliance.

Boskovic says that "air policing is absolutely the best option to protect our skies."

After separating from a union with Serbia in 2006, tiny Montenegro was left without fixed-wing military aircraft. It has about a dozen operational helicopters.

Montenegro joined NATO in June as the military alliance's 29th member, despite strong opposition from Russia, which considers the Adriatic country a historic Slavic ally and is opposed to NATO's enlargement.