Greece to 'expel Russian diplomats' over FYR Macedonia deal

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

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".

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on July 11 that Athens would not tolerate any behavior that violates global law. 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.

Kathimerini said Greek authorities were investigating intrusion into domestic policy issues and quoted diplomatic sources as saying the suspicions were exclusively focused on those four individuals.

They also point to the careful stance Greece took in the Skripal affair when it did not follow other Western countries that expelled Russian diplomats, a position that was welcomed by Moscow.

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

The same sources note that despite the efforts by the Greek government to keep relations with Russia on a good level, lately various circles that are connected to Russian interests have been meddling in Greek domestic affairs. "From there on, all states and authorities should respect worldwide law, but also us, the Greek government and the Greek state".

"It is within that framework, and whenever required, measures have been taken".

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".

That is because Athens has always been upset FYR Macedonia is too similar to a region in northern Greece called Macedonia.

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