Russia has claimed that European Union sanctions for its backing of rebels in Ukraine were costly to the bloc but also to Greek exports, especially farmers and the agricultural sector.
The Russian news agency TASS based that on what it said were comments by Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis who was reported to have said it in a meeting with Ukrainian Ambassador Sergei Shutenko.
"Varvitsiotis pointed out that our country had to pay huge economic price in terms of exports to Russia, as a result of European sanctions against Russia," the press service said, citing Greece’s foreign ministry.
The Greek diplomat also stressed that his country "supports the Minsk process of Ukrainian reconciliation," adding that all international issues should be solved through dialogue and following international law, the report added.
Pantelis Skarlatos, President of the Hellenic-Russian Chamber of Commerce told TASS in late March the sanctions should be cancelled, claiming that EU-Russia trade turnover, which stood at $417.66 billion in 2013, shrank to $277.79 billion in 2019.
"This trade deficit of $140 billion harms the economies of our states, it’s the money eventually lost by the peoples of Russia and Europe. Given the total sum of money lost by the trade as a result of seven years of sanctions and countermeasures, the amount of damage looks enormous. As a businessman, I personally think that sanctions and embargoes do serious damage to the economies of the European Union and Russia, to the well-being of our peoples," he said, according to the news agency.
"Let me remind you that the last full year of exports to Russia was 2013. At that time, exports of Greek fruits and vegetables to the country exceeded 160 mln euro. For example, deliveries of sweet cherry to Russia made up 52% of Greece’s total exports of this fruit. Russia accounted for 64% of all strawberry exports, 40% of all Greek peach exports, and so on. In certain areas of the country, the damage done to farmers as a result of the embargo is irreparable, despite support measures taken by the EU," Skarlatos said.
"The consequences of this are yet to be fully assessed. Hopefully, the sanctions will be lifted as soon as possible. I’m not a politician to tell you when, but, as a businessman, I can say that economic losses on such a large scale entail catastrophic consequences for our economies and peoples," he also said.