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Sex Strike: Why Ancient Greek Play Lysistrata is Trending in the US

Lysistrata sex strike
A production still from the feature film Lysistrata. Credit: JamesMacMillan,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0/Wikipedia

Ancient Greek play Lysistrata became a trending topic in the US after protesters called for a sex strike in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Calls for a nationwide sex strike were gathering momentum on social media and, at one point, “abstinence” was trending on Twitter with more than 26,900 tweets as of Saturday afternoon.

Some women on social media are now planning to withhold sex from men “until abortion rights are federal law.”

“Women of America: Take the pledge. Because SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, we cannot take the risk of unintended pregnancy, therefore, we will not have sex with any man — including our husbands — unless we are trying to become pregnant,” one Twitter user wrote.

Lysistrata calls on Athenian women to do a sex strike

Lysistrata an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, was originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC.

It is a comic account of a woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War between Greek city-states by denying all the men of the land any sex, which was the only thing they truly and deeply desired.

Lysistrata persuades the women of the warring cities to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace—a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes.

The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society. It is significant for many reasons and still holds value in today’s society. Lysistrata is hilarious, controversial and thought-provoking all rolled into one.

Since the ancient period, Lysistrata has been performed countless times, with each version and each generation adding their own touches to it.

A combination of both farce and truth, the play gives us an insight into how ancient Greek society functioned and the role women played in it.

Alice Cooper, Bonnie Tyler Rock Athens for the Parthenon Marbles

Alice Cooper Bonnie Tyler Parthenon Marbles
Alice Cooper and Bonnie Tyler rocked Athens to support the return of the Parthenon Marbles. Illustration: Greek Reporter

Alice Cooper and Bonnie Tyler, the two internationally recognized rockers, gave a concert in Athens on Monday to support the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Rita Wilson, The Rasmus, Kip Winger, Chris Willis, Andreas Carlsson, Tabitha Fair, and Greece’s Fivos, Sakis Rouvas, and George Lebessis performed songs by Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Desmond Child.

“Desmond Child Rocks the Parthenon” took place at the ancient Herodes Atticus Odeon (“Herodion”) below the Acropolis under the aegis of the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Athens Municipality.

The stands of the Herodes Atticus Odeon were brimming with people and high in the background stood the illuminated Parthenon, shining under the Attic sky. Sitting at the piano accompanying the singers was Desmond Child, the host of the evening, who could not hide his excitement for the unique scene so full of history that stretched out in front of him.

“Athens I love you…It’s wonderful to be here,” he told the crowd. He later confessed that the concert was a life experience. “I constantly pray for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures,” he added.

Alice Cooper, Bonnie Tyler steal the show

The legendary Bonnie Tyler proved that she is still young at heart while Rita Wilson showed that, in addition to acting, she also has great vocal skills.

However, the great protagonist of the evening was the evermoving Alice Cooper. The American rock singer, whose career spans over 54 years, sang two songs at the end of the concert in a very theatrical way, stirring the crowd and receiving the loudest applause.

Parthenon Marbles “could be shared” between the UK and Greece

Earlier in June, the Chair of the British Museum George Osborne said that Greece and the UK could agree on an arrangement where they both share the Parthenon Marbles.

The former UK Chancellor was asked whether an arrangement would be made that would see the Parthenon Marbles displayed in both Athens and London: “I cannot speak for all the trustees [of the British Museum], but I think such an arrangement would work,” he said.

Greece has intensified its campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, a struggle that began in the 1980s by then Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. A recent poll in Britain shows that the majority of Britons is in favor of their repatriation to their home.

In May, UNESCO announced that Greece and the UK have agreed to hold talks on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Dozens of Migrants Found Dead in Abandoned Truck in Texas

Migrants Texas
Credit: Video screenshot/CBS News

At least 46 people, believed to be migrants, have been found dead in an abandoned lorry on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas in one of the most deadly recent incidents of human smuggling along the U.S. – Mexico border.

A fire official said sixteen people, including four children, had also been taken to hospital.

The survivors were “hot to the touch” and suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The vehicle, which had been abandoned by its driver, had no working air conditioning, and there was no drinking water inside it.

San Antonio in Texas, a major transit route for migrant smugglers

Temperatures in San Antonio, a major transit route for people smugglers about 160 miles (250 km) from the Mexican border, swelled to a high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) on Monday with high humidity.

Human traffickers often use lorries to transport undocumented migrants after meeting them in remote areas once they have managed to cross into the United States.

“They had families…and were likely trying to find a better life,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “It’s nothing short of a horrific, human tragedy.”

Emergency responders initially arrived at the scene at about 6:00 pm local time (11:00 pm GMT) after responding to reports of a dead body, San Antonio fire chief Charles Hood told reporters.

“We’re not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there. None of us come to work imagining that,” he said.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said that two Guatemalans were among those taken to hospital. The nationalities of the other victims was not immediately clear.

Three people are being held in custody and the investigation has been handed over to federal agents.

Monemvasia: Europe’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Castle Town is in Greece

Monemvasia castle town Greece
Few places in Greece possess the combined charms, natural beauty, and historical significance to the extent that Monemvasia has to offer. Public Domain

Monemvasia, on the southeastern shores of the Peloponnese, Greece is Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited castle town.

Founded in 583 by inhabitants of the mainland seeking refuge from the Slavic and the Avaric invasion of Greece and surrounded by the Myrtoan Sea, Monemvasia is located on an island about half a mile long.

A man-made road and stone bridge leads to the castle gate and main entrance of the majestic castle town onward through the colorful and lively citadel offering all who visit her both stunning views and an unforgettable ‘ambiance’ of times past.

Monemvasia entry gate
The entrance to the medieval castle town of Monemvasia. Credit: Jean Housen, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia

The fortress’ stone walls protected the citadel of Monemvasia from various invaders throughout its history. Invasions by the Crusaders, Venetians, and lastly, by the Ottomans have all left an indelible cultural and architectural mark, granting the citadel a unique charm and romantic atmosphere close to none.

Few places in Greece possess the combined charm, natural beauty, and historical significance to the extent that Monemvasia does.

The town’s name is derived from two Greek words, mone and emvasia, meaning “single entrance.” The “Gibraltar of the East” or a “stone ship” about to set sail, as the famous Greek poet Yannis Ritsos described his birthplace, beckons you for a journey through time, wandering through vaulted alleyways and past churches and aristocratic mansions.

Ritsos is buried in Monemvasia’s cemetery. His pompadoured bust stares at the sea from the courtyard of his childhood home in the lower town.

Ritsos’s verses, including the poem “Monemvasiotisses,” which was published in 1987 and is devoted to the town’s women, sometimes referred to his lonely rock with the single entrance. In its resilience, he celebrated freedom.

“So many years, besieged by mainland and by sea,” he wrote in his 1945 epic poem “Romiosini…They’ve all been hungry, all been killed, and yet—not a single one is dead,” Ritsos wrote.

Monemvasia: A trade center that withstood invasions

From the 10th century AD, the town developed into an important trade and maritime center. The fortress withstood the Arab and Norman invasions in 1147; farm fields that fed up to thirty men were tilled inside the fortress.

By 1193, Monemvasia was a major city in the Peloponnese. Ships sailing between Constantinople (now Istanbul) and what is now Italy stopped there, giving rest to aristocrats and high-ranking church members and loading Greek exports like olive oil and wine headed for the West.

William II of Villehardouin took it in 1248, on honorable terms after three years of siege; in 1259, William was captured by the Greeks after the Battle of Pelagonia, and in 1262, it was retroceded to Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos as part of William’s ransom.

Monemvasia
Map of Monemvasia made by F. de Witt, Amsterdam, 1680. Public Domain

It remained part of the Byzantine Empire until 1460, becoming the seat of an imperial governor, a landing place for Byzantine operations against the Franks, the main port of shipment (if not always production) for Malmsey wine, and one of the most dangerous lairs of corsairs in the Levant.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Monemvasia held out against the threats of Sultan Mehmed II in 1458 and 1460, when it became the only remaining domain of the Despot of the Morea, Thomas Palaiologos, the claimant of the Imperial throne. He had no forces to defend it; he offered it to the Sultan and finally sold it to the Pope.

The town was liberated from Ottoman rule on July 23, 1821 by Tzannetakis Grigorakis who entered the town with his private army during the Greek War of Independence. In 1822, it became the seat of the first national assembly.

The resurgence of the Greek castle town

Monemvasia
A restored house in Monemvasia. Credit: ulrichstill , CC BY-SA 2.0 de/Wikipedia

In more recent history, the castle town has seen a resurgence in importance with increasing numbers of tourists visiting the site and the region.

The charming town of Monemvasia is made up of a labyrinth of winding cobblestoned streets that can only be traveled by foot. The medieval buildings have been restored, and many of them converted to hotels, artisans shops, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants.

It has become an ideal romantic hideaway and honeymoon destination. Boutique bed & breakfasts and luxury hotels with suites boasting Turkish baths, mosaic floors, and flowering courtyards will transport the visitor to another time without stinting on modern comforts. In the dimly lit rooms with their vaulted ceilings and handmade wooden furniture, visitors will live their own fairy tale.

Lower town of Monemvasia

The lower castle town’s cobblestoned principal lane is lined with tall, slim, earthy-stone houses with arched doorways and vaulted rooms. The narrower buildings have older foundations while the wider buildings are newer, dating to the 18th or 19th centuries with modern touches, such as wrought-iron balconies.

In the lower part of the town, one can explore the ruins of the historic buildings situated there—among which the Muslim Mosque, a preserved 16th century building housing the Archaeological Museum, is located along with the magnificent Byzantine churches. Twenty-four temples and churches with Byzantine elements remain from the forty that once existed.

The oldest is Elkomenos Christos, located in the main square of the Lower Town. It was probably built sometime in the 6th or 7th century and has undergone numerous transformations. Its sparse exterior does not prepare visitors for what is on display inside, namely a massive icon of the Crucifixion that dates from the Palaeologan Renaissance (a short but culturally vibrant period during which the Palaeologos dynasty sought to restore the Byzantine Empire’s glory).

It is a stunning piece of ecclesiastical art that was looted and, after undergoing several adventures, eventually made its way back to Monemvasia.

Other churches worth seeing are Panagia Chrysafitissa, Agios Nikolaos, and Panagia tin Kritikia (Myrtidiotissa).

Upper town

Monemvasia castle town
Upper town offers panoramic views of the lower town and the sea. Credit: Dnalor 01, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia

The uninhabited upper part of the town was home to the Venetian aristocracy and, although it’s a steep climb to reach the beautiful mansions (in the 17th-century, travelers once counted 500), you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the whole area.

The highest peak in the upper town is about 656 feet above sea level.

The half-Byzantine, half-Venetian church of Agia Sofia clings to the side of the cliff and is one of the most significant attractions in Monemvasia. Once inside, you’ll be awe-struck by its magnificent octagonal dome.

Monemvasia castle town
The church of Agia Sofia. Credit: Jeroenu, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikipedia

Historic lighthouse of Monemvasia

One of the most historic and imposing lighthouses in Greece is located at Monemvasia in the Peloponnese.

Built by the British in 1896 and automated in 1960, the lighthouse has recently been renovated. It sits on an iceberg-like slab of rock with sheer cliffs rising hundreds of meters from the sea.

The tower is seven meters (23 feet) tall, and its focal plane is 15 meters (49 feet).

The British writer Brian W. Aldiss once described Monevmasia as a “wonderful place,” where “only eagles and artists” should be allowed.

 

 

New COVID Restrictions in Greece May Come in Fall: Health Minister

coronavirus greece
COVID-19 restrictions may be reimposed in the fall, the country’s health minister said Monday. Credit: Greek Reporter

COVID-19 restrictions may be reimposed throughout Greece in the fall, the country’s health minister predicted on Monday. The news comes amid the latest surge of cases after the country eased safety measures and as it now welcomes a flood of tourists.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris warned of the possible return to some restrictions after the National Public Health Organization reported the latest cases: 9,064 COVID infections and twelve deaths in Greece. Of those cases, 7,682 were new and 1,382 were repeat infections, according to the report.

Cases are expected to peak nationwide at 25,000 by mid-July, according to Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, a professor of Environmental Engineering at Aristotle University.

The tourist season is in full swing, and the country’s archaeological sites, along with its beaches and islands are busy, but Plevris said authorities may decide to impose “mild” targeted COVID-19 measures in the fall.

This month, Greece surpassed 30,000 coronavirus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, but cases dropped enough in recent months that nearly all restrictions were removed.

On Friday, Greek authorities’ decision to recommend a second COVID-19 booster shot for individuals over thirty was criticized by a leading health specialist. The current recommendation for a second booster shot for people aged 30 to 59 who do not belong to the vulnerable groups “is not accompanied by the necessary documentation,” said Elias Mossialos, Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

COVID-19 Wave ‘Not’ Pressuring System

Plevris still advises the fourth shot, though it is voluntary. Masks are no longer required except in certain places, but he said people should continue to wear a face covering in crowded places and indoors.

The country’s National Vaccination Committee reiterated a “strong recommendation” that those aged sixty and over get a second booster shot.

Plevris added that the sixth wave of the virus in Greece was not putting pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

“We’ve entered another phase of coexistence with the pandemic, not in terms of choice, but this is how it happens when variants have become very contagious,” he said, according to a report in Greek Travel Pages.

Greece is enjoying a robust return to the tourist season. From June 16th to June 22nd, Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport saw an average of 2,061 flights, 6 percent more than the week before. That made it Europe’s seventh busiest airport for the week. Passenger traffic was about 94 percent of its standout year in 2019, when it broke the record for most passengers. It is on pace this year to shatter that record, officials said.

Instagram to Use AI and Video Selfies to Verify Age

Instagram AI
Instagram app on a smartphone. Credit: Santeri Viinamäki ,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0/Wikipedia

Social media giant Instagram is set to launch new methods, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), for the verification of the ages of its users.

The new methods under testing will include having the user upload a video selfie and then letting Artificial Intelligence (AI) judge their age.

When an Instagram user attempts to edit their date of birth on the service to be eighteen or over, it will require them to verify their age, Instagram explained how it will work.

Besides video upload, there will be other several ways to do this, including uploading an ID or asking three mutual friends to verify your age.

The most fascinating way to do this, however, is to upload a video selfie, upon which Instagram will then hand over the video to its partnering AI company, Yoti, to verify the user’s age.

Instagram to use AI algorithm to judge age

An artificial intelligence algorithm will be used to judge whether you’re really over eighteen.

Yoti trains its AI on “anonymous images of diverse people from around the world who have transparently allowed Yoti to use their data and who can ask Yoti to delete their data at any time,” Instagram said.

For people under the age of thirteen, Yoti collected data with parents or guardians giving explicit consent.

In a “white paper” document posted on its website, Yoti says that its AI has an accuracy rate of 2.96 years for 6 to 70 year-olds, and the rate of accuracy is greater the narrower the age groups are.

The company also says that with the use of AI, users are not individually identifiable, and gender and skin tone bias is “minimized.”

Risk of user data misuse exposed with this practice

It should be noted that on several occasions, Facebook, whose parent company, Meta, also owns Instagram, has in recent times, fallen prey to user data misuse scandals.

However, Instagram says that once you upload a video selfie and Yoti uses it to confirm your age, the image isn’t used for anything else but is deleted after your age has been confirmed.

Instagram says, it opted to use this method because, “understanding someone’s age online is a complex, industry-wide challenge,” and that many teens don’t always have access to an ID, so it’s forced to “explore novel ways to approach the dilemma of verifying someone’s age.”

Instagram also hopes that with the incorporation of these new technological methods, the company will be able to deal with occurrences of fake accounts on the platform.

Crippling Sanctions Push Russia into Default on Billions in Debt

Putin
Months after Russia President Vladimir Putin’s military invaded Ukraine, his country is in default on billions in international debt Sunday night. Credit: The Presidential Press and Information Office, CC BY 4.0

Russia has defaulted on roughly 37.8 billion euros, or $40 billion—in international debt, the effects of mounting and crippling international sanctions four months into its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia had originally faced a May 27th deadline to hand over the interest payment on its foreign debt but was granted a thirty-day extension, which came due Sunday night, according to Reuters.

The country has not previously defaulted on its foreign debt since 1917, the time when a different Vladimir was in power, Vladimir Lenin.

Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin is in power, and the Kremlin claims it has not legitimately defaulted on that debt. The West, it said, is the culprit, according to the report.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the United States government severed Russia’s ability to pay the billions it owes international investors through US banks.

Despite the default, Russia does have the money to make the payments because of its substantial control on oil and gas exports. In May, the European Union softened its stance on the purchase of Russian gas and oil, as it released a series of guidelines for European companies to purchase fuel from the country and avoid breaching sanctions. The bloc proposed a total ban on Russian oil imports in a large packet of sanctions on May 4th, but the proposal was blocked by a number of countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, all of which rely on gas and oil from Russia.

Greece PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said shortly after the February 24th invasion that his country was in a race to reduce energy dependence on Russia. In April, however, the number of tankers carrying Russian fuel that arrived in Greece reached record-breaking highs, indicating that the country’s waters have become a top destination for transporting Russian fuel.

Greece has been a strong supporter of Ukraine, however, sending weapons and other aid to the country and freezing assets of selective Russian citizens. In response, a Russian government official last week alleged without evidence that Greece is no longer a safe place for its citizens.

Russia Debt in Junk Status

Meanwhile, Russia’s debt default did not come as a surprise to investors, who had been expecting the move for weeks. Reuters said rating agencies have already labeled Russia’s debt far into junk territory.

About half of the amount Russia owes in foreign bonds is to foreigners, the report noted. The government still borrows rubles from Russian banks, which purchases its bonds.
The default put borrowers in new territory because, unlike other defaults in which settlements can be worked out, international sanctions prevent any interaction with Russia’s finance chief.

Governments around the world, including Greece, have imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia and its citizens for the invasion. In mid-March, Greece began freezing assets of Russian citizens identified on an international list for sanctions sent to all European Union countries in the wake of the invasion.

Beer Was Brewed in Bronze Age Greece

Beer Greece
A handful of sprouted cereal grains were discovered at a Bronze Age site in Argissa, Greece. Credit: Copyright Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Greece is known for its wine, but it seems ancient Greeks were not only winemakers but also fond of brewing and drinking beer, a recent study suggests.

Evidence found at two ancient settlement sites, Archontiko and Argissa in central Greece, reveals beer was being brewed as far back as the Bronze Age.

Both sites had been wrecked by fire, which turned them into time capsules of sorts, Sultana-Maria Valamoti, Associate Professor of the Department of History and Archeology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki said.

After the fire, the prehistoric people appear to have moved out, leaving countless burned artifacts behind, including the remains of sprouted cereal grains.

At Archondiko, archaeologists found about a hundred individual sprouted cereal grains dating to the early Bronze Age from about 2100 to 2000 B.C. At Agrissa, about 3,500 sprouted cereal grains dating to the middle Bronze Age from about 2100 to 1700 B.C. were found.

The findings were reported in an article by Valamoti. “The new data show strong indications that the inhabitants of prehistoric Greece, besides wine, also produced and consumed beer,” she wrote.

Beer is an unexpected find in ancient Greece

“It is an unexpected find for Greece because until now all evidence pointed to wine,” she added.

She noted that although the discovery may be the oldest-known evidence of beer in Greece, it’s not the oldest in the world. Egyptian records show that it was consumed as early as the mid-fourth millennium B.C., and people in the Near East slurped down the amber liquid as early as 3200 B.C., according to the study.

In the case of Archontiko, along with rich cereal residues, a concentration of germinated cereal grains, ground cereal masses, and fragments of milled cereals were discovered inside the remains of two homes.

Their condition is put down to malting and charring, claim researchers.

The practice of brewing could have reached the Aegean region and northern Greece through contacts with the eastern Mediterranean where it was widespread, it was also suggested.

The finding hints that prehistoric Greeks were “using alcoholic drinks for feasts all year-round, instead of just on a seasonal basis,” when grapes were ripe, Brian Hayden, a professor of archaeology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, who wasn’t involved with the study told Live Science.

Athens Apartment Rental Prices Keep Rising for Smaller Units

Athens Rent
Athens rent prices on smaller apartments have been rising are on the rise. Credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis (CC BY SA 2.0)

Rent is on the rise in Athens for smaller apartments in newer buildings, especially in selected suburbs. Some landlords in Maroussi and Elliniko have been charging as much as 37 euros, or $39, a square meter.

The rental units that are most popular are between 20 and 40 square meters, apartments that traditionally were among the most affordable in the city. Now, a 40-square-meter, fourth-floor walkup apartment can exceed 1,400 euros a month, far above the price range of what an average Athenian can pay, experts said.

As real estate prices around Europe have rebounded from COVID-19 dips, landlords in Athens are trying their luck at raising rents. Some owners who set up fully-furnished apartments, with utilities included, as short-term, Airbnb-type units, have switched to traditional rentals.

Older, renovated buildings from the 1950s and 1960s in the center of the city are rising as well, and can exceed 21 euros, or $22.18, a square meter, a recent scan of units on the market showed.

Kifissia Rent Prices Are Highest

A recent survey in Global Property Guide found that the average 50-square-meter apartment in Athens’ historical center rented for 768 euros a month, or $811, while it jumped to 812 euros in Kolonaki, 757 euros in the Glyfada area and 695 euros in Voula. The Kifissia area of Northern Athens was the highest at 975 euros for the average monthly rent of a 50-square-meter apartment.

While rent has increased in Athens, a survey released in January found they are still 135 percent lower in Athens than in the UK. The same survey found Athens to be among the top cities in the world to move to. This month, the capital moved up nineteen places in the latest Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of the world’s most livable cities but still ranked only 73rd on the list of 172 cities.

A look at Greece’s Price to Rent Ratio, which measures the nominal house price index divided by the housing rent price index, found that between January 2019 and July 2021, the amount rose every six months, according to data from Trading Economics.

Meanwhile, apartment sales have been steadily rising throughout Greece. In the urban areas, prices rose over 2.7 percent in the third quarter of last year, according to recent figures from the Bank of Greece, as cited in Global Property Guide.

It was estimated that in the second quarter of 2021, nominal apartment prices—the type of housing the majority of Greeks buy—increased by an average of 4.6 percent and 3.5 percent, according to Bank of Greece data, the quarter before that.

Greece’s Golden Visa has also contributed to rising housing prices. For a minimum investment in real estate of 250,000 euros, a Greek residence card will grant a buyer full EU rights, officials say.

Russia Expels Greek Diplomats

Russia declared eight Greek diplomats “personae non gratae” and gave them eight days to leave the country, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.

According to Reuters, the foreign ministry said it had summoned the Greek ambassador to protest over what it called “the confrontational course of the Greek authorities towards Russia, including the supply of weapons and military equipment to the Kyiv regime.”

The ministry said it had also protested against a Greek decision to declare a group of Russian diplomats “personae non gratae.”

In a statement, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that “there is no basis whatsoever for the Russian authorities’ decision to expel the staff members of the Greek diplomatic and consulate authorities in Russia,” who were carrying out their duties based on the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

It also noted that “as a principle, Greece respects International Law.” The Greek ministry added that the remaining staff members will continue to serve their mission under particularly difficult conditions.

Greece expelled Russian diplomats in April

In April, Greece expelled twelve Russian diplomats in reaction to the war in Ukraine.

In a statement, the Greek foreign ministry said: “The Greek authorities have declared 12 members of the Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Russian Federation, accredited in Greece, as personae non-gratae.”

The ministry further explained that “the above were declared undesirable in accordance with the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Affairs and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs” and that “the Acting Secretary-General informed the Russian Ambassador earlier today about this decision.”

“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.

Relations between Greece and Russia “reduced to almost nothing”

Later in April, Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Greece that relations between the two nations that “share the same faith” have been “reduced to almost nothing.”

Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, warned in a statement released on social media that the “historical parallels” between Greece and Russia were in danger of becoming “a solid double line between us.”

Related: What Has Russia Ever Done For Greece?