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Reactions from Athens to derogatory and threatening message from Moscow

Featured Reactions from Athens to derogatory and threatening message from Moscow

The first official reaction to highly annoyed comments by the Russian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman against Greece’s stance vis-à-vis Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine came on Sunday evening, with the public order minister rejecting claims of an “anti-Russian information campaign” by Athens.

In a first reply to the statements by high-profile spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Takis Theodorikakos, whose portfolio is called citizens’ protection, said it was actually Russian leadership that was insulting the Russian nation, not Greece.

Speaking on the evening newscast of Athens-based Mega channel, Theodorikakos said it was Russian forces that have invaded Ukraine, causing hundreds of deaths on a daily basis, including ethnic Greeks.

“…Greece is a member of the EU and NATO… we have condemned the Russian invasion, and we support acts of solidarity to Ukraine, because it has experienced an unprovoked attack,” he said.

In a subsequent reaction, the Greek foreign ministry spokesman said Athens’ foreign policy is based on principles and long-standing and absolute adherence to respect for international law.

“…our country’s primary concern is the promotion of truth, based on confirmed and undeniable evidence,” Greek ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou said, adding that the country takes joint decisions – which bind Greece – with international organizations in which it is a member, including the EU and NATO.”

“Recent decisions by the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, as well as posts by the Russian embassy in Athens, are unacceptable. They are not compatible with diplomatic practice, or with (bilateral) historical ties,” the Greek spokesman said.

Zakharova’s entire statement was reposted, with an English translation, on the FB page of the Russian embassy in Athens, even as the Putin-led government this week blocked access to the pre-eminent social media platform from within Russia.

The portions citing Greece, in the Russian spokeswoman’s statements, are:

“Comment by the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Maria Zakharova regarding the anti-Russian information campaign in Greece…We paid attention to the unprecedented campaign launched in Greece to defame the policy of Russia. Senior officials in Athens allow themselves to make gross allegations against our country and its leadership, literally competing their like-minded people on this.
“The bilateral ties are being deliberately destroyed, and Russian-Greek relations, unfortunately, are no exception. Athens actively supports the EU sanctions regime. We are given an alleged ‘energy blackout’, declaring as a target of the rapid release of Russian natural gas, the uninterrupted supplies of which for decades have been a stabilizing factor in the national energy sector. With the collective directive of Brussels, the Greek sky closed for Russian airlines. The order was given to suspend all cooperation in the field of culture, to stop the Common Tribute Years. Calls for a complete termination of any cooperation are heard. Essentially, for the sake of the unclear and questionable goals, the leadership of Greece is ready to zero (sic) our very common historical heritage, which just yesterday itself considered as its natural advantage in cooperation with Russia. Time will put everything in its place, it will show who was right and who – at the critical moment – showed a lack of vision, made the wrong choice. We believe that the eternal bonds that connect the people of Russia and Greece will also endure these trials.”