The Russian Foreign Ministry via spokeswoman Maria Zakharova lambasted outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his policy towards Greece and Cyprus.
On the issue of Russia's relations with Greece and Cyprus and U.S. intervention in them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not hold back in condemning Pompeo.
"Regarding the attacks of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on our relations with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, we note that we know the pressure of the U.S. representatives against the hierarchy of the Greek and Cypriot Orthodox Churches in order to recognize the Ukrainian schismatic church," she said.
"It is a strange interest for a secular state thousands of kilometers from Ukraine, in which they have no historical, spiritual or cultural ties to, and the Orthodox make up only about 2% of the country's population," she added.
At the same time, Washington publicly states that a condition for the development of bilateral relations with Athens and Nicosia is for them to end their cooperation with Russia.
"We have repeatedly stressed that the cold-blooded blackmail has no place in the civilized world and in international politics. Another example of America's habit of blackmail. In a statement, Pompeo recalled the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece in 2018 for 'undermining' the Prespa Agreement," Zakharova said.
"So far, there is no evidence of illegal activities by Russian representatives. Moscow supported the agreement between Greece and North Macedonia. At the same time, serious violations of international legal rules and the Constitution of North Macedonia were committed under the strongest pressure from Western countries - especially the United States, which was prompted by Skopje's soonest as possible accession to NATO and by no means a desire to facilitate the settlement of the bilateral dispute. We were honest and open about our position," Zakharova continued.
The teleconference "International Forum of Religious Diplomacy: Religions and Challenges of the New Decade" organized in Greece attracted the attention of Moscow, she revealed.
"Despite the issue of the event, which directly affects our interests, the Russian representatives were not invited. This circumstance is quite understandable, since the focus of the forum was to promote irrational accusations against Russia, which allegedly undermines the unity of the Orthodox world and interferes in the internal affairs of Orthodox countries. Such statements sound particularly cynical from the lips of our American colleagues - well-known 'defenders of Orthodoxy', who, as expected, acted as almost the main organizers of this online initiative," Zakharova noted.
"It is strange - the persistence with which the United States is trying to establish in the minds of its allies, motivated solely by political considerations, the interpretation of the split in Ukrainian Orthodoxy, largely inspired by them to eliminate Russia on this issue as if there is not centuries of cultural and spiritual connections, essentially kinship ties between Russians and Ukrainians," Zakharova said, adding "It's unfortunate that the Americans are openly playing with these areas, which seem to care more about their opportunistic interests than about defending true Orthodoxy, far from arguing for hierarchical supremacy."