Will Greek-Russian relations survive the war in Ukraine?

Russia’s ambassador to Athens, Andrey Maslov, at a press briefing on Thursday, said communication between his embassy and the Greek foreign ministry “is very constructive, regular – almost daily – and it’s very important, because diplomacy and embassies are all weather tools.

During the briefing, Maslov also expressed his confidence in the restoration of bilateral relations between Greece and Russia due to their traditional, historical and spiritual ties, “but the processes and this progress will take time.”

Speaking about developments in Ukraine, the Russian Ambassador said that “the special military operation will continue until its objectives are achieved” and noted that from the very beginning “we explained that the occupation of Ukraine is not our goal”.

For Russia, he noted that the key issue is ensuring security guarantees. “We insist on legal guarantees that NATO will not expand to the east,” Maslov said, referring to the Russia-NATO Founding Act on Cooperation and Confidence-Building signed in 1997 in Paris. . “At the end of December, we presented two draft agreements to the United States and NATO, in particular on the question of legal guarantees”, declared the ambassador. Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO membership poses “a direct threat and danger to Russian security” and Russia cannot accept or recognize Ukraine’s right to NATO membership.

Maslov said Russia “has done everything it can since 2014 to resolve the intra-Ukrainian crisis through diplomatic means and end the genocide in the Donbass, on behalf of the Kiev regime”, but – he added, “none of the Western countries have proceeded to condemn the murder of dozens of people, whom Ukrainian neo-Nazis burned alive in the union building in Odessa in May, and there is no condemnation either regime crimes against civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014. Their inhabitants have been bombarded daily for eight years and 5,500 of our fellow citizens, Russian nationals and members of the diaspora, have been killed, but the West has kept the silence.

In addition, the Russian Ambassador said: “NATO infrastructure is constantly expanding eastward, and NATO members have brought Ukraine under full control, equipping it with the most more modern. For Russia, he said, “it has become clear that the Alliance is implementing a plan to make Ukraine a beachhead against Russia.”
When asked if Russia plans to restrict or cut off the flow of natural gas in response to the sanctions, Ambassador Maslov replied: “We have no information.”

Regarding the Cyprus issue, he reiterated that Russia’s position has not changed and that it “does not recognize the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, just as, for example, Greece does not does not recognize Kosovo”.

Asked to comment on the Greek Foreign Ministry’s move regarding the deaths of ten members of the Greek minority in the village of Sartana, Maslov said the embassy had provided an explanation based on the Russian Defense Ministry regarding the village, that Russian Air Force planes were not flying in the area on February 26. But Ukrainian nationalists from the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion had launched several rockets into the area, he said. However, he reaffirmed that the collaboration he maintains with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very good.

Maslov raised other questions, including whether there would be long-term repercussions in Greek-Russian relations after the former supplied defense equipment to Ukraine. On the issue, he said it was a dangerous move, as “weapons can be looted by neo-Nazi battalions and gangs of thieves, adding fuel to the fire.” He added that “it will be the responsibility of the EU, which is involved in the supply of deadly weapons”, and also regretted the interruption of Russia and Greece in the cultural sector, “which was traditionally exemplary in our bilateral relations”. ”

The ambassador also said he would not comment on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ statements in parliament on Wednesday “in order not to disrupt our bilateral relations, but Mr. Mitsotakis’ relations do not differ much from those of all the other leaders. EU member states. These statements did not surprise us. Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952 and has been part of the EU since 1981, what else can we expect from Greece?

EU and NATO countries behave the same way, he said. “European countries have little room for maneuver because they are manipulated” by a particular center, he said. In terms of the international outcry against Russia, “our country cannot be isolated. The world is not limited to the West – as some believe – because there are still six billion people outside the West. For example, China and India did not support illegal anti-Russian sanctions,” Ambassador Maslov said.

Key words:
Andrey Maslov, Athens, China, Donbass, Greece, Greek Foreign Ministry, Greek News, Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, Russian Ambassador, Russian Defense Ministry, Russian News, Sartana, Turkish