Greece to expel two Russian envoys, Moscow to respond in kind
Russia will expel two Greek diplomats in response to Athens’ decision to expel two Russian diplomats, Russian news agency RIA Novosty reported on Wednesday, citing a senior lawmaker.
Greek media reported earlier that Athens had decided to expel the Russian envoys and ban entry to another two over suspicions they had tried to undermine an agreement with neighboring Macedonia.
The Greek government did not respond directly to the reports but its spokesman said it would not tolerate any behavior which violates international law. None of the reports said whether the expulsions had actually taken place, although the Greek spokesman suggested some kind of action had been taken.
Greece's Kathimerini newspaper said Athens authorities ordered the expulsions after suspected attempts by the Russian diplomats to undermine an agreement Greece brokered with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia last month which ended a decades-old diplomatic standoff over its name.
The deal between Greece and Macedonia is expected to ease the admission of the small but strategically-important state into NATO, in a region where Russia and the West are jostling for influence.
Kathimerini said Greek authorities were investigating intrusion into domestic policy issues and quoted diplomatic sources as saying the suspicions were solely focused on those four individuals. Greece's Skai TV also reported Athens had decided to expel the Russians.