Greece expels two Russian diplomats

Dimitris Tzanakopoulos

Greece ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats and barred the entry of two others for allegedly undermining national security, local media reported. The government in Athens accused the Russian officials of acting to obtain and distribute sensitive information. Russia reacted immediately by saying it would mirror the move by expelling two Greek diplomats.

Greece will not tolerate any behaviour that violates international law, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. “Greece has proven that, in the context of a multifaceted foreign policy, it wants good relations with all states,” spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said adding that “all states must respect international.”

According to Kathimerini daily, a number of Russian diplomats were involved in efforts to extract material that could then be used to bribe Greek state officials. The Kathimerini report contains allegations that Russia has in some way tried to intervene in very sensitive issues, particularly with respect to the issue of the name of Macedonia. One of the two diplomats to be expelled was named as Victor Yakovlev.

The Greece's move marks a rare downturn in diplomatic relations between Athens and Moscow, who have shared close ties for decades. In March, Russian diplomats were expelled from more than 25 countries after Scripal affair in the UK, but Greece was not among them.

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