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Politics

Reliant on Russian Gas, Greece Struggles Over Ukraine Invasion Response

February 25, 2022

ATHENS – Getting 40 percent of its gas from Russia, Greece couldn’t come to grips over what to do about the invasion of Ukraine apart from statements of denunciation, the same dilemma as the European Union.

Greece also has historically close ties with Russia, a fellow Orthodox nation, but the indignation over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move even saw Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis call out the aggression.

After chairing a national security council meeting, he stressed that Greece respects the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all countries, reported Kathimerini.

“Historical revisionism by the use of arms must find against it the entire democratic planet. The responsibility of governments and the European family is being judged on this front,” Mitsotakis said.

Folliw Live: Coverage of Russia-Ukraine Conflict

But the EU isn’t willing to go as far as barring Russia from using the SWIFT international bank transaction messaging system – the bloc too depending on Russian energy – although the move would cripple the Russian economy.

Mitsotakis said that Greece has enough energy without explaining what that meant and how long the country could last without the Russian supplies, the invasion also spiking already sky-high prices.

Mitsotakis, ahead of a meeting of EU leaders to discuss new sanctions on Russia and the energy issue, said the government is “working on scenarios which have to do with the biggest possible absorption of fluctuations in energy prices.” He didn’t say what they were.

But Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas will call an emergency meeting of the country’s crisis management team to try to find ways to hold down the energy prices after the government was already subdizing them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou said the New Democracy government is trying to “adapt its policies to the new data,” but said: “Energy adequacy has already been ensured and we are working on scenarios regarding the best possible treatment and absorption of price fluctuations.”

The government said plans were made to get more energy from a pipeline from Azerbaijan as a temporary alternative, no further details.

 

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