Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Athens on Friday on an official visit which will include talks on trade, energy and transport. He will meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and will be accompanied by his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, indicating the importance the Russians are attaching to the talks.
Moscow is primarily interested in buying state-run railway operator Trainose and a stake in Thessaloniki port, the country’s second largest, as Putin reiterated in a commentary for Kathimerini published on Thursday ahead of the visit.
He also said that Russia – Greece’s main gas supplier – is still very much interested in reviving the South Stream gas pipeline project.
“The issue of our energy resources being carried through southern corridors to the countries of the European Union is still on the agenda,” Putin said.
Putin and Pavlopoulos will visit Mount Athos on Saturday to attend celebrations marking the 1,000-year presence of Russian monks at the Orthodox monastic community.
Despite EU trade sanctions imposed on Moscow in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine, Russia has maintained cordial relations with Greece, as both countries, Putin said, are linked by a common Orthodox Christian heritage.