Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Ties with Moscow under strain after Athens expels diplomats, Dora Antoniou

Ties with Moscow under strain after Athens expels diplomats, Dora Antoniou

According to the publication, such measures are a response to Russians' wrongful interference in the internal affairs of Greece.

Russian Federation said on Wednesday it would mirror the move by expelling two Greek diplomats, according to reports.

Commenting on Kathimerini's revelation that Athens was planning to expel two Russians, and bar entry to another two, over perceived attempts to broaden Russian influence in Greece, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Skai TV on Wednesday that Greek authorities "cannot tolerate behavior that violates global law and does not show respect to the Greek state".

According to high-level Greek diplomatic sources, Athens is calling for the immediate expulsion of two personnel, including the Russian Embassy official Victor Yakovlev, and the expulsion of two more. Officials in Athens said that the diplomats sent by Moscow to replace them had been refused entry.

They point to the effort by Russian Federation to intervene in a sensitive domestic issue like the agreement between Greece and FYROM over the name, and by doing so negatively affect Greece's role in the Balkans.

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Russia's foreign ministry said it would respond in kind to the expulsions.

The Russians are also alleged to have attempted to bribe Greek officials and to have sought to undermine the Macedonia name deal which was signed last month by Athens and Skopje after months of intensive negotiations.

Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos reports from Athens.

However, the diplomatic sources quoted by Kathimerini added that Greece still aimed to maintain "good co-operative relations" with Russian Federation.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said at the time that while he wanted to "express solidarity" with the United Kingdom, "we also need to be responsible on that issue". Two Britons were also later poisoned by the nerve agent and one has died.

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