Zakharova: Greece expelled Russian diplomats at the same time as Nuland's visit

Maria Zakharova Russia Greece

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova released a statement on Telegram on Friday warning that “historical parallels” between Greece and Russia were in danger of becoming “a solid double line between us."

She also highlighted that the decision to declare 12 Russian officials persona non grata on April 6 was only one day after the visit of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States Victoria Nuland to Greece.

In the same post she connects April 6 with the Nazi attack in 1941 and wonders if the choice is accidental or if it is a "devilishly accurate calculation".

“There was a time when Russia helped Greece achieve independence and restore its statehood, and its first head was previously Russia’s foreign minister, but now this country’s diplomatic relations with Russia have been reduced to almost nothing,” Zakharova warned.

She added that “this happened despite the fact that we share the same faith with the Greeks, the same traditions, and were always there to help our Greek friends.

“This is not so much an issue of Euro-Atlantic solidarity erasing the past, since it is a sovereign choice for every nation to decide whom to honor. Even worse, this deprives people and nations of their future, independence and the right to make sovereign choices,” Zakharova concluded.

Greece on April 6 declared 12 Russian officials persona non grata, joining other European states that had taken similar steps in response to accusations of atrocities committed by Russian forces against civilians in Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry said the decision was made in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

Russia’s embassy in Athens condemned Greece’s decision and warned of consequences. “We have strongly protested against this unjustified and hostile step which aims to further destroy our bilateral relations,” the Russian embassy announced in a statement. “We made clear that this action will not remain without consequences,” it further said.

The Russian official has previously alleged that there is an orchestrated defamation of Russia in Greece following the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Senior officials in Athens find themselves making gross accusations against our country and its leadership,” Zakharova said.

She added: “We noticed the unprecedented campaign launched in Greece to defame Russia’s policy. Senior officials in Athens allow themselves to make crude accusations against our country and its leadership, they are literally competing with their like-minded people. They hypocritically speak of an “unprovoked attack” against Ukraine, for the first time since World War II, a “mass invasion” and so on.

“Europe, including Greece, is fully integrated into the ranks of the Kiev regime’s advocates, while the anti-Russia hysteria cultivated by the authorities has reached a boiling point,” the Russian foreign ministry official had said.

Greece responded to the statements saying they are “unacceptable.”

The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Alexandros Papaioannou, noted the following:

“The recent statements by the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the posts of the Russian embassy in Athens are, unfortunately, unacceptable.

“They are not compatible with diplomatic practice nor with the historical ties that unite the peoples of Greece and Russia. Greece would hope that these historical relations will be maintained and that Russia’s conduct would move in this direction.”

Meanwhile, Nuland visited the Greek capital Athens on April 5 to discuss bilateral and regional developments.

She was first received by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

During their meeting, the latest developments in the region and Ukraine were addressed, Mitsotakis said on Twitter.

Later, she met with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

The situation in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s war and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean were discussed, Dendias said in a tweet.

He added that the means to further improve bilateral relations in all areas were also addressed.

In her final meeting of the day, Nuland met with Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

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