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Historic Russia, Greece Ties Emphasized at Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Greece Russia
Foreign Ministers Nikos Dendias and Sergey Lavrov at the press conference on Monday. Credit: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The historic ties between Greece and Russia were praised by Foreign Ministers Nikos Dendias and Sergey Lavrov during their meeting in Sochi, Russia on Monday.

The ties between the two countries are “historic and multifaceted,” the Greek Foreign Minister noted and expressed his “gratitude for Russia’s special contribution to the liberation of Greece” on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution.

Dendias was welcomed to Russia by Lavrov and noted the special history of relations between the two countries, very evident particularly in southern Russia and along the coast of the Black Sea, where Greeks still have thriving communities.

The Russian official noted that on this day Russia commemorated the Day of Slavic Writing and Culture. He added that Saints Cyril and Methodius came from Byzantine Thessaloniki to found and disseminate the Cyrillic alphabet in the ninth century, and the day of their meeting further underscored that long bilateral relationship.

Dendias said he appreciated Russia’s acceptance of his proposal to visit the area where Greek communities still live, formulated during Lavrov’s visit to Athens in October 2020, and said “Greeks appeared in the area 2,500 years ago and I believe played a key role in the creation of what is today’s Russia.

“The reference to history shows the depth of our relations, and it affords me a great opportunity to discuss with you bilateral and regional issues in the hope we may further strengthen our relationship and understand wider issues,” the Greek Minister added.

Regarding the economic sector, the Foreign Minister spoke of “great prospects” and informed that Russian investments in Greece was discussed.

The Foreign Minister also expressed his belief that “all bilateral issues will be discussed” during the visit of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Russia, which he hopes, as he said, will take place within the year.

Greece-Russia tourism

Another issue discussed was tourism, with Dendias indicating the readiness of Greece to accept vaccinated Russian travelers or those who test negative for COVID-19 72 hours before arrival.

Greece expects hundreds of thousands of tourists to arrive from Russia this summer, as the result of joint efforts to resume tourism activity between the two countries.

Greek Minister of Tourism, Harry Theocharis, confirmed in April that discussions to gradually lift the travel restrictions are at an advanced stage.

The general manager of TUI Russia, Taras Demura, had informed Minister Theocharis that the company has the capacity to fly some 300,000 Russian tourists to the country, provided that travel routes indeed reopen without restrictions.

TUI Russia is planning to launch charter flights to Crete from Moscow and Yekaterinburg, as well as to Corfu from Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Kazan.

Their program for Greece will also include scheduled flights to Athens, Chalkidiki, the Peloponnese and the islands of Zakynthos and Santorini.


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