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Russian envoy: Fate of Prespes accord will not affect Greek-Russian relations

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Russia's relations with Greece will not be affected by the result of the ongoing procedure to ratify an agreement signed between Athens and Skopje to resolve a long-standing dispute on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Russian Ambassador to Greece said on Wednesday.

“The ratification or not of the Prespes agreement will not affect relations with Greece,” Andrey Maslov told journalists in Athens, during a briefing on a recent trip of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said relations between the two countries have normalized after a diplomatic incident this summer, when Greece expelled two Russian diplomats and barred two other people from entering the country for allegedly meddling with the name deal, adding the issue was not mentioned during talks between the two leaders.

Asked whether Russia plans to veto the deal at the UN Security Council, Maslov said his country does not oppose any new name FYROM may adopt.

“For us, it makes no difference. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was clear about this almost a year ago. He said whatever name Athens and Skopje agree to for FYROM, if this is decided officially and enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, then we will certainly recognize it,” he said.

Maslov said Russia disagrees with FYROM's accession in NATO, noting it will force his country to implement countermeasures.

He also welcomed Tsipras' interest for TurkStream, saying it is “Greece's right to promote plans which meet national interests and become an energy hub in the region, despite the malicious reactions of third parties.”

The ambassador also sought to assuage Greek fears over Turkey's acquisition of Russian S-400 missiles, saying the country has nothing to fear as both countries are NATO members.