Russian President Vladimir Putin told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras by phone on Thursday that Russia was willing to provide financing to Greek companies involved in a planned extension to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin had made similar assurances to Tsipras during the Greek leader’s visit to Moscow in April.
Tsipras’s office had said earlier on Thursday that the two had talked by phone but did not give any details of what they had discussed.
Russia started working on the Turkish Stream project after it abruptly abandoned the South Stream project in December, citing objections from Europe.
Russia’s Gazprom plans to supply up to 63 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year via Turkish Stream and create a gas hub on the Turkish border with Greece, through which it wants to transit 47 bcm annually into countries in southern Europe.
Russia has been speculated about as a potential source of funding for Greece if it fails to reach a deal with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders, but Athens has denied plans to turn to Moscow for help.
Athens is fast running out of money but a deal with European lenders has proved elusive so far. [Reuters]