Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s planned visit to Greece this autumn has been reportedly cancel, as “the timing is no longer suitable,” Russia’s ambassador to Athens Andrei Maslov told TASS news agency on Thursday. Greek officials had invited Lavrov in June before the diplomatic row over Macedonia and FYROM broke out that resulted into the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Greece. The two have funded anti-Macedonia protests in Northern Greece, Athens has said. Lavrov’s visit was due to take place in September.
In terms of diplomatic reciprocity, Moscow will expel Greek diplomats.
“Russia will expel Greek diplomats, the dates of their expulsion and the number of diplomats due to be expelled are unknown yet, ” Ambassador Maslov told further to tass.
“We have already said that tit-for-tat measures will follow. I don’t know when, who and the exact number, but, of course, in accordance with the existing practice, there will be retaliatory measures,” he said.
The Ambassador’s statement followed a word of wars between Athens and Moscow.
- Greek diplomatic sources implied in an ironic tune that it was Sergei Lavrov who want to visit Greece. “he is always welcome,” they said according to media on Thursday afternoon.
A day earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria, Zakharova, claimed that Greece, a NATO member since 1952, had acted under pressure from its military allies.
“We are fully aware that Greece was subjected to pressure at the highest level,” Zakharova told reporters.
She called the expulsions “crude and unjustified” and said they “will not remain without consequences,” but did not elaborate.
Zakharova’s statement prompted the angry response of the Greek Foreign Ministry that urged Moscow “the constant disrespect for Greece must stop. No one can or has the right to interfere in Greece’s domestic affairs.”
Today’s statements from the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are a characteristic example of disrespect for a third country and a lack of understanding of today’s world, in which states, regardless of their size, are independent and can exercise an independent, multidimensional and democratic foreign policy.
Moreover, it was negative thinking of this kind that prompted the four Russian citizens to proceed to actions that led to their expulsion from, or prohibition from entering, Greece. The evidence based on which Greece acted was presented to the Russian authorities in a timely manner. In any case, the Russian authorities themselves are very well aware of what their people do.
From the outset, Greece attempted to keep the actions of these persons separate from official Russian foreign policy. But in today’s statement, the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs embraces and seems to want to legitimise these illegal actions.
The constant disrespect for Greece must stop. No one can or has the right to interfere in Greece’s domestic affairs.
Finally, unsubstantiated claims to the effect that this decision was taken following pressure from third parties are unworthy of comment and indicate a mindset of people who do not understand the principles and values of Greek foreign policy, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.