Russian Ambassador Maslov: We don’t observe anti-Russia hysteria in Greece

Russian Ambassador Andrey Maslov Ukraine

The Russian ambassador to Athens, Andrey Maslov, described Greece as a “responsible partner” that focuses on areas of mutual interest cooperation.

“In the face of the Greeks we see responsible partners, who are interested in multifaceted cooperation with us,” he told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

“There are numerous areas where there is an objective mutual interest in cooperation and we focus our efforts especially on them,” he said, listing trade and investment, energy, cultural relations and others areas of points of cooperation.

Maslov spoke of “certain artificial limiting factors” that Greece’s accession to NATO adds to bilateral cooperation, noting that “this has always been the case since Greece joined the North Atlantic Alliance.”

“In Greece we do not observe anti-Russian hysteria”

The Russian ambassador in Athens estimated that “indeed, in the media of many Western countries, at the instigation of the official authorities, a communication attack is being developed against Russia in order to tarnish our country and present its policy in a distorted form, but in Greece we are not witnessing a similar anti-Russian hysteria.”

Maslov argued that “the ground in Greece is not conducive to anti-Russian propaganda.”

He attributed this because “the people of the country preserve the memory of the glorious pages of our common history, feel the spiritual closeness with the Russian people and simply do not respond to harmful myths.”

The discussion on written security guarantees continues through diplomatic channels

Asked about the role of the Alexandroupolis base in the Ukraine crisis and whether there is “concern” of the Russian side, Maslov said that the discussion with diplomatic channels with Greece on the “written security guarantees”, which Moscow supports, continues.

“We can not accept the approaches of Western countries, which extract from this set of interrelated conditions only the positions that are advantageous to them and in particular the right of states to freely choose alliances,” he said.

“The meaning of the agreements on the indivisibility of security lies in whether it is common to all or does not exist for anyone.

“As for the ‘concern’ you asked about, it must be felt by the countries themselves, who are giving up their territory for use as a transit station for the transportation of personnel, equipment and technical means from Southeast Europe to the border with Russia.

“In the past, the countries of the region more responsibly and calmly assessed the potential consequences for themselves from similar steps.

“We do not know of any plans by Greece to install nuclear weapons on its territory and in our dialogue with Athens there is no such issue.”

On the prospects of tourism

In relation to tourism from Russia, Maslov noted that the full restoration of special summer flights (charters) is being considered and it is understandable that tourist flows are restored, but not as fast as Russian citizens and Greek professionals would like.

However everything will depend on the course of the epidemiological data.

The volume of bilateral exchanges increased in the first 11 months of 2021 by 52.5% and reached $3.8 billion, a pre-pandemic size, said the Russian ambassador, who referred extensively and praised the cooperation to date for firefighting needs in Greece.

He did express his wish though that “it would be better not to have big fires this year” in Greece.

“Unusually rich in contacts” last year

The Russian ambassador described last year as “unusually rich in contacts at the highest level” between Athens and Moscow despite the pandemic.

He recalled the representation of Russia in the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821 in March 2021 by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, as well as the contacts between Foreign Ministers Nikos Dendias with Sergey Lavrov.

Above all though was the meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi in December.

“Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Russia for the first time in the capacity of Prime Minister,” said Maslov.

He also highlighted that at the end of the talks between the two leaders, “a comprehensive transnational Action Plan for 2022-24 had been adopted and work has already begun to implement the agreements reached.”

The Year of Greek-Russian History was decided by the two leaders to be extended and to end solemnly in Moscow in the middle of 2022.

It is the fourth consecutive “thematic” year between the two countries since 2016, reminded the Russian ambassador.

“We expect other bright events, which will emphasise the common history of the Russian and Greek people and will contribute to the consolidation of cultural and humanitarian ties,” said Maslov.

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