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Athens and Moscow at loggerheads

Determined to maintain a balance and to de-escalate the tensions in the diplomatic relations between Greece and Russia that have emerged in the last 24 hours, it is in the prime ministry.

The deportation of two Russian diplomats from Greece was accompanied by the cancellation of the visit of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Athens.

A government official, quoted by iefimerida.gr spoke of "expected" reactions from Moscow in the wake of the deportations. Information from other media, seem to assure that the will of the government's leadership is that there will be no escalation from now on. "We took some steps, we are following the reactions of Moscow, but we are determined not to continue," sources say. The embarrassment, however, in the government was overwhelming, and for that reason there was an extraordinary meeting between the foreign minister and the PM in order to take stock of all the latest developments and to draw a "line" for the next steps. The meeting lasted about one and a half hours and was completed - with no statement - at 18:30. An indication of the extraordinary situation was that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias left the ministry while a meeting on the legal aspects of the Prespes agreement was in progress.

Although Kotzias said nothing of his meeting with the prime minister, it is certain that this is the tense relationship, after the latest developments, in Athens and Moscow.

There was a ping pong-like exchange between Athens and Moscow as to who had invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

It all started when Moscow announced that Lavrov's visit this autumn was canceled.

Diplomats then reported to ANA-MPA that "the Russian Foreign Minister is welcome in Athens" and added that "the request of Mr Lavrov's visit to our country was made by the Russian side."

This was followed by a very specific edeclaration from the Russian embassy to Nikos Kotzias, through a tweet that "fingered" the Greek Foreign Minister, quoting his earlier statements with him inviting his counterpart to come to Athens in September.

And Nikos Kotzias, during his visit to Moscow on June 13, had a statement after his meeting with Sergei Lavrov that "we confirmed the invitation to my counterpart to come to Athens in September to prepare for the trip of the Prime Minister of Greece here in Moscow"