MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. Moscow always takes tit-for-tat measures in response to diplomat expulsions, an official at the Russian Foreign Ministry told reporters, commenting on media reports about the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Greece.
"The expulsion of diplomats always leads to tit-for-tat measures," the official said.
The Greek Kathimerini daily reported earlier citing diplomatic sources that Athens had decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban another two from entering the country. According to the daily, the Greek authorities accuse the diplomats of interfering in the country’s domestic affairs and undermining the national security of Greece. The newspaper says that the diplomats are particularly accused of "attempts to get and disseminate information, as well as bribe state officials." Athens’ decision is said to be "a response to a number of well-coordinated steps aimed at increasing Russia’s influence in Greece."
However, the same sources said that Greece "is still willing to maintain good relations with Russia, facilitate friendship between the two countries’ people, as well as cooperation between the two governments and civil societies" based on equality and respect for each other’s sovereignty and independence. The sources added that Greece had been cautious about relations with Russia, particularly refraining from following the example of many Western states that had expelled Russian diplomats in the wake of the Skripal incident - a decision welcomed by the Russian leadership.
Diplomatic sources stressed that Athens’ decision stemmed from the activities of the four diplomats and had nothing to do with Greece’s attitude towards Russia. They also said that any retaliatory measures that Moscow might take would be useless.