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Moscow slams reports about its plans to disrupt Thessaloniki fair as lie

August 08, 20:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Greek’s Kontra News said that Moscow’s agents had allegedly planned unrest at the Thessaloniki International Fair

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MOSCOW, August 8. /TASS/. There is not an atom of truth in the article of Greek’s Kontra News which said that Moscow’s agents had allegedly planned unrest at the Thessaloniki International Fair, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a report posted on the ministry’s website on Wednesday.

"Referring to an anonymous source from Greek’s intelligence services, the edition maintains that certain Greek gangs of street hooligans ‘financed from Putin’s illicit funds’ are preparing acts of protest when the yearly International Fair opens there in September. Evidently, the author has rich imagination," the ministry said.

+According to the newspaper, protests were planned to be timed to visits to the fair by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as well as prime ministers of Balkan countries. They were allegedly aimed at discrediting the agreement between Athens and Skopje to rename Macedonia the Republic of North Macedonia.

"There is not an atom of truth in the article of Kontra News," the ministry said. "Let us remind Greek pseudo-journalists of the existing coverage opportunities from the sphere of bilateral relations that exist in fact," it added.

As an example, the Foreign Ministry mentioned the year 2018, which marks 190 years since Russian-Greek diplomatic were established. "Our countries are linked by centuries-long ties and common values, inter-faith cooperation, common history. In addition, Russia has never encroached on sovereignty, public order or state security of Greece," the ministry continued. "Why should our country engage in disrupting events in Greece?" it asked.

Relations between Russia and Greece soured in mid-July when the Greek Kathimerini daily reported, citing diplomatic sources, that Athens had decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban another two from entering the country. According to the daily, Athens accused the diplomats of interfering in the country’s domestic affairs and undermining the national security of Greece. However, the same sources said that Greece was still willing to maintain good relations with Russia, facilitate friendship between the two countries’ people, as well as cooperation between the two governments.

Some Greek editions reported that Moscow had allegedly tried to hamper an agreement between Athens and Skopje to rename Macedonia. On August 6, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of two Greek diplomats in a tit-for-tat response.

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