With the Ukraine crisis in full swing and Russia in direct confrontation with NATO and the EU, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is preparing for a difficult trip at a critical time to Moscow Friday where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Dendias will seek to balance on a tightrope. Greece belongs to the realm of Western strategic structures and is on the same page with the EU that Russia is part of the security architecture in Europe.
At the same time the relationship that Moscow has developed with Ankara is a factor of undeniable concern.
Russia’s take on international maritime law may cover Greece’s concerns on a theoretical level, but Athens would like an even closer relationship with Moscow, which seems very difficult in the current circumstances.
Athens is also reasonably concerned about the energy crisis and its impact on the Greek economy.
The situation is certainly exacerbated by the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
However, for the time being, it is clear that Moscow is not willing to negotiate at this stage.
Lavrov and Dendias will first have a private meeting, before making joint statements, followed by a working lunch.
The talks are set to focus on security in Europe, the situation in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Talks on bilateral relations are also expected.
It is Dendias’ third visit to the Russian Federation in the last two years.
Moscow has hinted recently of its annoyance at the use of the port of Alexandroupoli in northern Greece by American troops within the framework of the Greece-US Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.
What’s more, the choice of Athens, and of other EU member-states, not to respond to the Kremlin letter, opting instead to limit itself to the answer given by High Representative Josep Borrell, is absolutely certain to occupy the discussions.
However, the main difficulty of the meeting concerns the statement that will be made after the meeting by Lavrov.
In any case, the Greek delegation would like to avoid the possibility of getting involved in an agenda that could bring the Greek delegation to the center of a confrontation that clearly concerns the major powers.