Greek PM visits Kiev with Russia message


On a visit to Ukraine Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for all sides to implement the Minsk Protocol and insisted that Greece has no intention of breaking ranks within the European Union over sanctions against Russia.

“It is clear that developments in our wider neighborhood affect us,” said Tsipras after holding talks with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev. “They affect the security environment, the European Union’s relationships in our neighborhood and the energy map in the area.”

Tsipras called on all sides to abide by the Minsk Protocol, which was signed by Ukraine, Russia and pro-Russia separatists in September 2014.

“We agreed on the need to observe the truce and chiefly on the implementation of the Minsk agreement,” said Tsipras, who added that Athens will support any mediation efforts to bring the crisis in Ukraine to an end.

Tsipras also stressed the need for a “roadmap” to overcome the crisis and restore EU-Russia relations, which have been affected by the situation in Ukraine. He said that the EU needs to provide Moscow with incentives but stressed that Athens would not oppose a move by the EU to toughen the sanctions on Moscow.

“Greece is a member-state of the European Union and, despite the fact that it has a particular economic interest in an immediate resolution of the crisis and the lifting of sanctions that have had an extremely painful effect on the Greek economy, we will not fragment European unity,” he said.

Tsipras was accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and also met members of the Greek diaspora on his visit.