Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Greek Cabinet spokesman confirms reports on Russian diplomats’ expulsion

After Greece said it would kick out two Russian diplomats Russia promised to expel Greeks from the embassy in Moscow Greece 'orders expulsion of two Russian diplomats'
Patty Aguilar | 12 July, 2018, 12:27

Greece has chose to expel two Russian diplomats for allegedly intervening in the name dispute agreement between Athens and Skopje. His remarks were in response to Kathimerini's report that Greece would expel Russian diplomats for activities inconsistent with their status. The row arose after two Russian diplomats were caught trying to "bribe and extract confidential information from state officials" about the Greeks' deal with Macedonia, and deported.

As revealed in Kathimerini's report, the diplomats are alleged to have sought to expand Russia's influence in Greece, via local authorities and bishops across the country, and through organizations with close links to Moscow, including the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society.

The Greek government expelled two Russian diplomats and banned the entry of two more, Kathimerini reported citing high-ranking diplomats.

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.

Meanwhile, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told reporters on Wednesday that Moscow always took tit-for-tat steps in response to diplomats' expulsion.

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Diplomats in Athens on Wednesday elaborated on the insights revealed by Kathimerini's report, noting that Greek authorities had long warned Moscow about the behavior of the Russian diplomats.

However, Greece was not among them.

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".

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered unconscious on a bench in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury on 4 March after reportedly being exposed to a military-grade Novichok nerve agent.

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