Greece to 'expel Russian diplomats' over FYR Macedonia deal

Valery Sharifulin  TASS

Greece made a decision to expel the diplomats over claims they tried to undermine an agreement between Athens and Skopje over a long-running name dispute, according to the Kathimerini newspaper.

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos did not comment on the Russian report but said: "Greece has proven as part of a multifaceted foreign policy that it seeks good relations with all states".

Over in Moscow, RIA is reporting, citing Russian Duma deputy Andrei Klimov, that two Greek diplomats will now be expelled from Russia.

According to the sources, the diplomats are accused of interference in home affairs, attempted collection and dissemination of information, and bribery of government officials.

Kathimerini claims that the Russian side tried to intervene in the Balkans issues the Greeks regard as particularly sensitive.

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Greece's Kathimerini newspaper said Athens authorities ordered the expulsions after suspected attempts by the Russian diplomats to undermine an agreement Greece brokered with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia last month which ended a decades-old diplomatic standoff over its name.

However, the diplomatic sources quoted by Kathimerini added that Greece still aimed to maintain "good co-operative relations" with Russian Federation.

"It is within that framework, and whenever required, measures have been taken".

In March, Russian diplomats were expelled from more than 25 countries after European Union leaders agreed that it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for a nerve agent attack in the UK.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said at the time that while he wanted to "express solidarity" with the United Kingdom, "we also need to be responsible on that issue". Two Britons were also later poisoned by the nerve agent and one has died.

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