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Greece to expel two Russian diplomats, ban two others

July 11, 2018

The move comes after perceived attempts by the Russians to undermine a deal Greece brokered with neighboring FYR Macedonia. Russia has vowed to respond in kind.

Russian and Greek flags
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Karmann

Greece will expel two Russian diplomats and ban the entry of two others for meddling in its domestic affairs and illegal acts against Greece's national security, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Wednesday.

Athens has accused the Russian diplomats of efforts to extract and circulate information, and to bribe Greek officials, the newspaper reported, citing "high-level Greek diplomatic sources."

Greece will not tolerate any behavior which violates international law, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said, when asked about the report during a TV interview on Wednesday.

Russia's foreign ministry said it would respond in kind to the expulsions, the Interfax news agency reported.

Moscow will respond to the expulsions by expelling two Greek diplomats, Russian state-owned RIA news agency reported, citing a member of the upper house of parliament, Andrei Klimov.

Among other things, the diplomats are suspected of undermining an agreement between Athens and its neighbor the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia last month which ended a decades-old diplomatic standoff over the country's name, the newspaper said.

The deal is likely to facilitate Macedonia's entry into NATO, which would be a major setback for Russia which is jostling with the West for influence in the region.

Macedonia is expected to get an invitation to join NATO during a summit of the the nearly 70-year-old alliance in Brussels starting Wednesday.

ap/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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