NEWS

Moscow expels Greek diplomats, Athens warns of ‘proportionate’ response

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Diplomacy

Greece Monday said it would respond “in an appropriate and proportionate manner” after Russia announced it was kicking two Greek diplomats out of the country in a retaliatory move over a decision by Athens to expel two Russian envoys.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Greek Ambassador Andreas Friganas and handed him a diplomatic note informing him of “tit-for-tat measures” taken by Moscow.

Two Greek Embassy staff as well as the director of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’s political bureau, Giorgos Sakellariou, were ordered to leave, Kathimerini understands.

Speaking to Kathimerini on condition of anonymity, diplomatic sources described the Russian response as “asymmetric.”

They said the Greek decision was made on the basis of clear evidence that specific individuals from inside the Russian Embassy in Athens were engaged in activities intruding into Greece’s domestic affairs.

The same sources added that Greece will respond in “an appropriate and proportionate manner.”

In July, Athens expelled two diplomats based at the Russian Embassy in Athens and barred two more from entering Greece after evidence showed they tried to foment opposition to a name deal between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) which opened the path to the Balkan state’s EU and NATO membership.

Russian officials had at the time described the Greek move as “unjustified” and warned of an “in-kind” response.

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