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Spokeswoman comments on expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece

July 12, 19:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Greek Kathimerini daily reported on Wednesday, citing diplomatic sources, that Athens had decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban another two from entering the country

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MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. The expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece will tell on bilateral relations and will trigger tit-for-tat measures, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"We always go on a premise that such developments as expulsions of diplomats entail mirror consequences and don’t encourage bilateral relations," the diplomat said.

"We assume that bilateral relations have value of their own, as we are not speaking about virtual relations, but about practical cooperation for the good of the peoples of the two states," Zakharova stressed.

The Greek Kathimerini daily reported on Wednesday, 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.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that Moscow always took tit-for-tat measures in response to diplomat expulsions from other countries.

Greek Cabinet Spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos later confirmed information about the expulsion of diplomats.

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