Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Greece and Russian Federation expel diplomats - English

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meets with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in 2015 Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meets with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in 2015 Credit Alexander Zemlianichenko Reuters
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 12:30

Greece has made a decision to expel two Russian diplomats for allegedly intervening in the name dispute agreement between Athens and Skopje.

Greece has expelled two Russian diplomats suspected of meddling in the delicate Macedonian issue in a rare dispute between the two Orthodox Christian nations.

Over in Moscow, RIA is reporting, citing Russian Duma deputy Andrei Klimov, that two Greek diplomats will now be expelled from Russia.

The diplomats are accused of interference in internal affairs, attempted collection and dissemination of information, and bribery of government officials. "Diplomats' expulsion is followed by tit-for-tat measures", the official said answering a question on the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece.

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.

Kathimerini reported that Athens ordered the expulsions and bans after perceived attempts by the Russian diplomats to undermine a deal Greece brokered with Macedonia last month that ended a decades-old standoff over its name.

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

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

In March, Russian diplomats were expelled from more than 25 countries after European Union leaders agreed that it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for a nerve agent attack in the UK.

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".

The UK government says the nerve agent used in the Skripal attack was of a type developed by Russian Federation, but the country's authorities continue to deny any involvement.

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