The Russian Federation declared eight Greek diplomats as “personae non gratae” on Monday and gave them eight days to leave the country in retaliation for the similar move taken by Athens two and a half months ago on April 12.
“The confrontational course of the Greek authorities with Russia, which includes the supply of weapons and military equipment to Kyiv,” is to blame, according to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry and conveyed to the Greek ambassador in Moscow, Katerina Nasika.
Just a few days earlier Kathimerini revealed that Moscow had issued a verbal communication over the concession by Greece of BMP-1 amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine in exchange for German Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
“We are deeply saddened by the decision of the Russian authorities,” stated a release by the Greek Foreign Ministry, adding that “there is no basis for the decision by the Russian authorities to deport members of the Greek diplomatic and consular missions to the country.”
The Foreign Ministry noted that officials of the embassy in Moscow and the consular authorities in Russia will continue to carry out their mission “under particularly difficult circumstances.”
At the same time, Moscow is escalating its rhetorical attacks against Athens, through statements by Russian Ambassador to Greece Andrei Maslov.
In an interview with Rossiya 24 TV, Maslov said that Greece has ceased to be a safe country for Russians to spend their summer holidays in.
He claimed that after February 24, “the wave of anti-Russian hostility in the media has not diminishing and is motivated by political events.”
He referred to daily “anti-Russian statements, and all this creates a negative atmosphere,” adding that in case Russian citizens visit Greece they should be very careful.
Maslov also claimed that “Ukrainian nationalists” often attack Russians who regularly ask for help from the diplomatic mission in Athens.
He further added that there are only so many things the Russian Embassy can do as the Greek authorities “cut off all communication” with the Russian side.