Greece accuses Russia of ‘arbitrary‘ diplomat expulsions

ATHENS: on Friday said Russian expulsions of Greek diplomats were “arbitrary” and not based on evidence, after a similar move by Athens last month.

“The Russian side‘s decision is arbitrary, retaliatory and not based on any evidence,” the Greek foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We want to remind our Russian friends that no country in the world would tolerate attempts to a) bribe state officials, b) undermine its foreign policy, and c) interfere in its internal affairs,” Athens said.

Greece in July expelled two Russian diplomats and banned two Russian citizens from entering the country over allegations of meddling with its relations with Macedonia.

At the time, Greek ERT1 public television channel said Athens accused the Russians of trying to stir protests against a recent agreement with Skopje on a new official name for Macedonia.

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The designation of the former Yugoslav country is a sensitive diplomatic issue since Greece has a northern region of the same name.

Athens and Skopje signed an accord in June to resolve the decades-long dispute over the Balkan state‘s use of the name Macedonia, which is also the name of a northern Greek province.

has also riled Greece by arranging to sell S-400 air defence rockets to Greek regional rival .

The Greek foreign ministry on Friday said Russia was “fighting as a comrade in arms with Turkey, providing it with a number of facilitations in the security sector” and that “it appears to be steadily distancing itself from positions befitting the level of friendship and cooperation that has characterised Greek-Russian relations for the past 190 years.”
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