Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday said that EU sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine are not productive, BBC reports.
“We have repeatedly said that the vicious circle of militarization, of Cold War rhetoric and of sanctions is not productive. The solution is dialogue,” Tsipras said at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Athens.
EU leaders are scheduled to discuss whether to renew existing sanctions at the European Council Summit next month. It is likely that they will be extended.
“The issue of sanctions is not our problem. We did not impose them; we took measures to respond to them,” Putin said. “As soon as they are lifted, we will take analogous steps toward our partners.”
The EU imposed sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. But as far as Moscow is concerned, “we consider this question is closed forever,” Putin said. “Russia will not conduct any discussions with anyone on this subject.”
Putin’s visit to Greece is an attempt to reinforce the economic cooperation between the two countries and Tsipras said the strengthening of Greek-Russian relations was “a strategic choice.”
Greek-Russian relations are an important element of our active, multidimensional foreign policy. We have upgraded our political dialogue 1/2
— Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) 27 мая 2016 г.
on all regional and international issues of common interest, an absolute necessity in a period of increasing regional destabilisation. 2/2 — Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) 27 мая 2016 г.
According to newspaper Kathimerini, the Greek government is looking for loopholes that will allow the export of Greek agricultural products to Russia.