ATHENS – After the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA was unable to get more than lip service from Russian President Vladimir Putin after taking power in 2015 and looking for aid during an economic crisis, the new New Democracy government wants to move closer to Moscow.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was due in the Russian capital on Nov. 6 for an official visit which is aimed at boosting Greece’s bilateral ties with Russia which is trying to expand its influence in the Middle East and Mediterranean after being shut out of trying to stymie a deal SYRIZA made to Dendias and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov are expected to sign a three-year plan committing to bilateral talks on key issues with relations improving after the Macedonia debacle led Greece to expel two Russian diplomats for meddling in the affair.
— Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) November 6, 2019
According to Greek diplomatic sources not named, Kathimerini said the foreign chiefs would talk about Syria’s long civil war and Turkey’s invasion of the northern part of the country as well a Turkey’s unlawful drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus.
Before setting off, Dendias underlined the “historical ties of friendship and cooperation” between the two countries where relations have been on-again and off-again, especially during European Union sanctions over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine’s former civil unrest.