As Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras – a former Communist Youth leader – is seeking a stronger alliance with the United States and allowing joint military operations on Greek soil, Russia now wants to offer military co-operation as well although it also wants to sell missile defense systems to Turkey at the same time.
Russia’s Ambassador Andrey Maslov, told the Russian news agency TASS that as Greece is already armed with Russian-made military equipment that Moscow wants to expand and strengthen its ties as the Greek government is said to he favorable toward allowing another American base.
“At present, cooperation in this area is developing largely through the maintenance of the Russia-made weaponry that Greece already has,” Maslov was quoted as saying. “There are no complaints about our equipment from the Greek side since it has proven itself to be good and high-quality.”
“We in turn are open to stepping up cooperation in this area and are ready to discuss new projects,” he added.
That came as Tsipras was preparing to go to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin although Greece earlier this year ejected two Russian diplomats accused of trying to scuttle Greece’s deal to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and open the door toward entry into NATO and beginning European Union accession talks.
Russia was opposed to deal that was brokered with the help of then United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz, an American lawyer who had failed to find a solution for nearly two decades and broke off talks for three years before resuming them amid speculation the US was keen to get another country into NATO as a bulwark against Russian interests in the Balkans.
Russia is looking to expand military and technical cooperation with Athens and is ready to discuss new projects, Maslove said, adding that the flap over the diplomats is over.
“Today, relations between our countries develop normally and preparations for the Greek Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow are the best proof of improving ties,” he said, according to TASS.
“We have been cooperating constructively with our Greek colleagues in preparing for the December summit, we are also making plans for the future. I believe that the July chapter in Russian-Greek relations has been closed,” he said.