Moscow to take 'reciprocal' action after Athens expels Russian diplomats

Moscow, Russia Published: Aug 06, 2018, 10:21 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

Russia on Monday said it summoned the Greek ambassador in Moscow to inform him of "reciprocal measures" after Athens expelled two Russian diplomats over allegations of meddling with its relations with Macedonia.

Ambassador Andreas Fryganas "was given a note informing him Russia is taking reciprocal measures in response to unfriendly actions by Athens," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. 

Contacted by AFP, the ministry did not want to elaborate on the "reciprocal measures," suggesting two Greek diplomats were expelled. 

Athens expelled two Russian diplomats and banned two Russian citizens from entering the country, according to a previous statement by the Russian foreign ministry.

Greece did not provide details on the measures, only saying it acted in the "national interest" after "interference" by Russian officials in its name dispute with Macedonia. 

Russia already summoned Fryganas in July, when it accused the United States of being "behind the anti-Russian decision of the Greek government which was timed to coincide with the opening of the NATO summit." 

The Greek ERT1 public television channel said Athens accuses the Russians of trying to stir protests against a recent agreement with Skopje on a new official name for Macedonia.

The designation of the former Yugoslav country is a sensitive diplomatic issue since Greece has a northern region of the same name.

Athens and Skopje signed an accord last month to resolve the decades-long dispute over the Balkan state's use of the name Macedonia, which is also the name of a northern Greek province.

The two nations came to an agreement to call the country the Republic of North Macedonia. Approved by the parliament in Skopje, it will next be put to a referendum.

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