MOSCOW, July 19./TASS/. Moscow expects that the chill in relations with Athens will be short-lived, Russia’s EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov told reporters on the sidelines of a conference with Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives on Thursday.
"Relations with Greece have entered a certain cooling spell in recent days. I hope this chill will be rather short," Chizhov stated.
On July 11, 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, Greek authorities accused the diplomats of meddling in the country’s domestic affairs and undermining Greece’s national security. The newspaper said that the diplomats were specifically accused of "attempting to obtain and disseminate information, as well as bribe state officials." Greek Government Spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos later confirmed the information about the expulsion of diplomats. In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would take tit-for-tat measures in response to this step.
Given the current bilateral diplomatic atmosphere, the Russian ambassador to Greece said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Greece won’t take place within the earlier scheduled timeframe.