Greece Accuses Russia of ‘Disrespect’ as Diplomatic Spat Escalates

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Greece accused Russia of showing disrespect late on Wednesday after Moscow claimed Athens was taking part in “dirty provocations” for NATO over the expulsion of two Russian diplomats last week.

Greece expelled the diplomats based at the Russian Embassy in Athens amid allegations they helped fund protests against an agreement to end Greece’s long-standing name dispute with FYROM. If ratified, the deal would allow FYROM to join NATO.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged Wednesday that Greece, a NATO member since 1952, had acted under pressure from its military allies.

“We are fully aware that Greece was subjected to pressure at the highest level,” Zakharova told reporters.

She called the expulsions “crude and unjustified” and said they “will not remain without consequences,” but did not elaborate.

Zakharova’s remarks prompted an angry response from the Greek Foreign Ministry.

“The constant disrespect for Greece must stop. No one can or has the right to interfere in Greece’s domestic affairs,” the ministry said.

“The Russian authorities themselves are very well aware of what their people do,” the statement continued. “The evidence based on which Greece acted was presented to the Russian authorities in a timely manner.”

“The unsubstantiated claim that this decision was made following pressure from a third party, is not worthy of a comment and shows a mentality of people that do not understand the principals and values of Greek foreign policy,” the statement concluded.