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Greece, Russia Reaffirm Close Ties Despite Ukraine Differences

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The Foreign Ministers of Greece, Nikos Dendias and Russia Sergey Lavrov, met in Moscow on Friday. Credit: Twitter/Nikos Dendias

Greece and Russia reaffirmed their close ties despite differences over Ukraine during a meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday.

“We had a productive discussion on promoting bilateral cooperation in the context of Greece-Russia historic ties, security in Europe, and the situation in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean,” Dendias tweeted after the meeting.

The meeting took place amid international concern Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

On Thursday Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that Greece will support Ukraine’s territorial integrity if Russia invades.

Mitsotakis said in Brussels that he hopes for open lines of communication with Russia, but would support Ukraine if necessary.

“We reconfirmed our absolute unity, our support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and our determination to act in a coordinated manner and in consultation with our Euro-Atlantic allies, in the event of an invasion by Russia on Ukraine,” Mitsotakis told the press after a meeting of the European council.

Greece, Russia discuss the security situation in Europe

Dendias described this fifth meeting of the two ministers as one “of great importance” and thanked Lavrov during his introductory remarks “for the opportunity to discuss in depth the security situation in Europe”.

He added that “Greece is in favor of maintaining peace, stability and security, but also of a constructive dialogue based always on international law, as well as on the law of the sea and on the basis of the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The foreign minister also noted that during the meeting he intends to brief his Russian counterpart on “developments in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus issue” and to ask for his views on what is happening in Syria and Libya.

He noted that there will be further discussion “on the ways of further development of our bilateral relations, especially after the meeting of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with President Putin last December”.

“I think that there is an important bilateral agenda, which we can promote in our meeting today,” Dendias underlined.

The Russian foreign minister said that Moscow attaches “special value to our dialogue on regional and international affairs,” listing current issues such as the Russian Security Assistance Initiative, Ukraine, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Transcaucasia, the Middle East and North Africa.”

He noted that “in all these directions our Greek friends have their own position. We are interested in taking your interests into account. We are pleased and ready to discuss any issue of interest to you.”

Lavrov described Friday’s meeting as “a good opportunity to look at how what has been agreed at the level of our leaders is being implemented,” referring to the development of “trade and economic relations, investment, energy, transport and communications and of course tourism and ensuring the epidemiological security of citizens.”

The Russian minister described the Joint Action Plan for 2022-24 as an “important document and the basis of joint work,” and stressed that Russia attaches great importance to humanitarian and cultural contacts, highlighting “the successful organization of the Year of Greek-Russian History,” which coincided with the 200-year anniversary since the start of the Greek Revolution and is continuing until the middle of 2022, following a decision of the two governments.

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