Greece To Expel, Ban Russian Diplomats

Blanche Robertson
July 11, 2018

The Greek Kathimerini daily reported earlier citing diplomatic sources that Athens had chose to expel two Russian diplomats and ban another two from entering the country.

A member of Russia's upper house of parliament, Andrei Klimov, said Russian Federation would expel two Greek diplomats in response, without mentioning Macedonia or going into further detail about the reasons for the actions.

It marks a rare downturn in diplomatic relations between Athens and Moscow, who have shared close ties for decades.

Russia will expel two Greek diplomats in response to Athens' decision to throw out two of Moscow's envoys, Russian news agency RIA reported on Wednesday, citing a senior lawmaker.

According to the sources, the diplomats are accused of interference in home affairs, attempted collection and dissemination of information, and bribery of government officials.

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Kathimerini claims that the Russian side tried to intervene in the Balkans issues the Greeks regard as particularly sensitive. None of the reports said whether the expulsions had actually taken place, although the Greek spokesman suggested some kind of action had been taken.

Last month Macedonia and Greece agreed to end a 27-year row by renaming the ex-Yugoslav state the Republic of North Macedonia.

Diplomatic sources stressed that Athens' decision stemmed from the activities of the four diplomats and had nothing to do with Greece's attitude towards Russian Federation. They also said that any retaliatory measures that Moscow might take would be useless.

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. "From there on, all states and authorities should respect global law, but also us, the Greek government and the Greek state".

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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