Putin congratulates Tsipras


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday congratulated Greece's left-wing prime minister Alexis Tsipras on his thumping poll victory.

Tsipras secured his second mandate as premier this year at a snap general election Sunday that should allow him to drive through unpopular reforms agreed under an austerity deal struck with international creditors. 

Putin congratulated the Greek leader in a telegram and “expressed hope for the continuation of constructive dialogue and active shared work for the future strengthening of mutually beneficial Russian-Greek cooperation”, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Tsipras sparked ire in some Western European capitals by cosying up to Putin in a series of visits to Russia as Greece’s bitter debt negotiations dragged on earlier this year.

Tsipras met Putin – locked in his own standoff with the European Union over Ukraine – twice, overseeing an agreement on a two-billion-euro ($2.18 billion) gas pipeline and denouncing Western sanctions against Moscow.

Russia – suffering its own economic crisis due to low oil prices and sanctions – was never a serious alternative to bail out Greece’s beleaguered economy.

Greece and its international creditors eventually agreed a third debt bailout deal worth up to 86 billion euros.