Greece 'orders expulsion of two Russian diplomats'

Greece 'orders expulsion of two Russian diplomats'

Russia's foreign ministry said it would respond in kind to the expulsions.

Greece chose to expel the diplomats over claims they tried to undermine an agreement between Athens and Skopje over a long-running name dispute, according to the Kathimerini newspaper. The Greek government will not tolerate disrespect for worldwide law and the Greek state, Greek Cabinet Spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Wednesday commenting on reports concerning the Greek authorities' decision to expel two Russian diplomats and ban two others from entering the country.

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 is expected to pave the way for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in a region where Russian Federation and the West are jostling for influence.

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Kathimerini said Greek authorities were investigating intrusion into domestic policy issues and quoted diplomatic sources as saying the suspicions were exclusively focused on those four individuals.

The Greek government expelled two Russian diplomats and banned the entry of two more, Kathimerini reported citing high-ranking diplomats.

They also point to the careful stance Greece took in the Skripal affair when it did not follow other Western countries that expelled Russian diplomats, a position that was welcomed by Moscow.

The row has put the Greek government in conflict with President Putin. "However, it is impossible to agree with the behavior, which does not respect global law and the Greek state", he told the Skai Greek TV channel answering a question on the issue. "That has also occurred this time", Tzanakopoulos said.

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