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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a cabinet meeting in April 2018 Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a cabinet meeting in April 2018  (ANSA)

Greece recalls envoy from Russia in worsening spat

Greece recalled its Ambassador to Russia on Friday as part of an escalating row, following a similar move by Moscow earlier this month.

By John Carr

Greece has recalled its ambassador from Moscow in a worsening diplomatic dispute over alleged Russian interference in Greek foreign policy.

Exactly a month ago, Greece made the surprise move of expelling two Russian diplomats on the grounds that they tried to scuttle a recent cooperation deal between Greece and neighbouring Macedonia.

Since then the war of words between Athens and Moscow has been escalating, with tit-for-tax expulsions of Greek embassy staff from Moscow.

Media reports in Athens say Greece refused visas to a group of Russian Orthodox clergy who wanted to visit Mount Athos. The suspicion was that the priests might use their stay in northern Greece to stir up opposition to the Macedonia deal.

Until recently Greece was the EU member most accommodating with Russia thanks to the Orthodox link. The reasons for the sudden switch are still a matter of debate here in Athens.

But according to a source in the ruling left-wing Syriza party, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made a conscious decision to go along fully with American policy to stay on the right side of the United States and the European Union.

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11 August 2018, 17:03