Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told the visiting US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland on Monday that Greece will not provide more weapons systems to Ukraine.
He stressed that Greece cannot contribute in a way that reduces its own defence capabilities.
Nuland made the request during her meeting with Panagiotopoulos at the Defence Ministry in Athens.
She did acknowledge Greece’s contribution to Ukraine’s war effort against Russia.
The US requested Greece for Soviet-made weapons systems, including the Tor-M1 and Osa-AK surface-to-air missile systems, to be delivered to Ukraine.
Athens had refused their concession not just because it did not want to undermine the Greek military’s defensive capabilities, but also due to practical matters such as the need for licensing in the case of Tor-M1 – from Russia itself.
Meanwhile, the Greek government is focusing its attention on energy issues, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reportedly expected to make an announcement about the plan and timetable for the exploitation of deposits in a sea area around the south of Crete, in Kyparissiakos Bay and in the Ionian Sea.
The endeavor will no doubt be a time-consuming process, taking at least two years to complete.
Nonetheless, the message that the government reportedly wants to send is that it is taking advantage of the international momentum after the invasion of Ukraine and putting Greece at the center of new initiatives by international players in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, energy issues in the Eastern Mediterranean were also discussed on Tuesday by Mitsotakis and visiting Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid.
The main topics discussed were the developments in Ukraine, as Israel has taken on a mediating role between Moscow and Kyiv.
The meeting took place amid scenarios of a game of energy poker being played in the Mediterranean triggered by the recent meeting between Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Energy and the day after were also on table at Mitsotakis’ informal meeting with Nuland at a time when it appears that the US is revisiting the EastMed pipeline plans.