In mid-summer, Montenegrins are usually preoccupied with cooling themselves off along the Adriatic coast. This year, the heat has been turned up even more, after Donald Trump characterised the tiny Balkan nation’s people as “very aggressive” and capable of sparking a third world war.

Barely a year since the former Yugoslav republic joined Nato, Trump’s remarks – in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday – have been met with a mix of mockery, contempt and outright disbelief. Publicly and privately officials admit that the US president’s latest verbal volley has hurt.

Asked by host Tucker Carlson in a conversation about Nato’s common defence policy: “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”, the US president replied: “I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question.

“Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people … They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in world war three.”