The Greek newspaper Kathimerini said on Wednesday that Athens has decided to expel two Russian diplomats and to ban two others “due to illegitimate actions against the security of the country.”
Citing several diplomatic sources, the newspaper said the measures “are a response to illegitimate actions on Greek territory that constitute interference in the internal affairs of Greece.”
“Among Athens’s accusations against diplomats are attempts to collect and disseminate information as well as bribery of public officials,” the article reads, adding that “the Athens initiative is not ‘lightning coming from nowhere’, but a response to several coordinated actions aimed at expanding Russia’s presence in Greece,” the paper wrote.
The same sources said that Greece wants to maintain good relations with Russia, promote the friendship of the two peoples and the collaboration between the governments. However, this is only possible on the basis of parity and mutual respect for the sovereignty and independence of the two countries,” according to the edition.
The edition reported on Russia’s attempts to interfere with Greece’s national problems and interests in the particularly sensitive Balkans, particularly with regard to the name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“Diplomatic sources have stressed that the Athens decision has to do only with the actions of the four people referred to, and not with the good relationship between Greece and Russia,” the paper wrote.
Kathimerini quoted a source as saying that any response measures by Russia will lead to deterioration of the situation.
In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the country will respond in proportion to the expulsion of diplomats from Greece.
“According to common practice, in such cases a proportionate response is given,” the Russian ministry explained.
Andrei Klimov, head of Russia’s Senate State Sovereignty Protection Committee, said the country would expel two Greek diplomats.