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Putin Turns Down Invitation for Greece’s Bicentennial Celebration

Vladimir Putin during his 2016 visit to Greece. Credit: Greek government

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly turned an invitation by Greece to attend the bicentennial celebration of the country’s independence on March 25.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Putin will not be traveling to Athens on that date, according to Russian news agency Sputnik.

Greece is expecting replies from Prince Charles, representing the U.K. and President Emmanuel Macron, representing France.

The three men were invited to attend the military parade on March 25 in Athens.

According to reports, the traditional parade, which was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus lockdown, will take place; however it will have all the necessary restrictions to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

In October of 2020, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis is said to have personally invited the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the festivities, during his visit in Athens.

He also sent an letter of invitation to the leaders who are representatives of the other two forces that had played a decisive role in the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman yoke.

Battle of Navarino

The three leaders represent the countries who fought alongside the Greeks in the battle of Navarino, one of the most important battles in Greece’s War of Independence, which took place on October 20, 1827.

It was on this date that a coalition of united European powers defeated the Ottoman Turkish naval forces.

An Ottoman armada which, in addition to imperial warships, included squadrons from the eyalets (provinces) of Egypt and Tunis, was destroyed by an Allied force of British, French and Russian warships.

It was the last major naval battle in history to be fought entirely with sailing ships, although most ships fought at anchor. The Allies’ victory was achieved through superior firepower and gunnery.

The Greek Revolution was viewed sympathetically by many European powers and especially the people of France, Britain, and Russia, which sent considerable forces to assist the revolt in Greece.

Russia and the Battle of Navarino

In October of 2020, The Russian Foreign Ministry had chosen to commemorate the 193rd anniversary of the Battle of Navarino with an anniversary post, which may also have contained a hidden message to Turkey.

The Foreign Ministry posted on its official Twitter account a video dedicated to the battle, which, through the sinking of the Ottoman fleet, led a bit later to the recognition of the independence of Greece after hundreds of years of Turkish occupation.

The video posted shows the sinking of Ottoman ships.

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