Chrysanthopoulos: Panagiotopoulos’ remarks do not help Greek-Russian relations

Greek Greece Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

Discomfort among former diplomats was created following the statements by Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos from Estonia, where he referred to NATO and “Russia’s aggressive actions.”

In particular, Panagiotopoulos stressed, among other things, that “NATO should prepare for a long struggle in its relations with Russia, adopting a stable dual approach.”

In response to Panagiotopoulos, honorary ambassador and experienced diplomat, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, said to Sputnik Hellas:

“On the one hand, we must use our resources efficiently to provide a credible, well-balanced, proportionate and sustainable response to Russia’s aggression. Aggressive actions do not belong to Russia, but to NATO.”

In addition, he made clear that the minister’s remarks do not help Greek-Russian relations in view of the meeting of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Vladimir Putin in Moscow in early December.

“The statements of the Minister are unfortunate, especially in view of the Prime Minister’s trip to Moscow next month,” the diplomat noted.

At the same time, Chrysanthopoulos recalls a historical lesson:

“We must not forget the fraud of the West in 1989 when Gorbachev was assured that if he agreed to the reunification of the two Germanys – East and West – there would be no further enlargement of NATO.”

He said history has shown that NATO has expanded considerably in the last 30 years and this should not be forgotten by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the same time, commenting on the events of the last few days, he pointed out that NATO is escalating its presence in the Black Sea simply to encircle and challenge Russia.

He also reported an incident from his personal experience:

“In 2007, when I was Secretary-General of the Black Sea Partnership, the Americans and Matthew Bryza (former US Ambassador and former Secretary of State) asked me if they should send ships to the Black Sea to fight terrorism.

“I replied negatively because the US Navy does not know the waters of the Black Sea and that Turkey and Romania are patrolling the issue of terrorism.

“They did not send ships to the Black Sea then as it would be a provocative move against Russia.”

READ MORE: Panagiotopoulos: The US is key strategic partner of Greece.