Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine are not productive, BBC reports.

Tsipras Putin

 

The European Union is expected to renew sanctions in the next few weeks.

 

Tsipras and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held a joint press conference in Athens.

 

The Russian leader said there would be “no discussions” about Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that was seized by Kremlin-backed troops in 2014, which led to EU and US imposing sanctions against Moscow.

 

The territory, where an ethnic Russian majority lives, later voted to join Russia in a referendum that Ukraine and Western countries deem illegal.

 

Tsipras told reporters: “We have repeatedly said that the vicious circle of militarization, of Cold War rhetoric and of sanctions is not productive. The solution is dialogue.”

 

Putin said: “As far as Crimea is concerned, we consider this question is closed forever. Russia will not conduct any discussions with anyone on this subject.”

 

Putin’s visit to Greece is seen as an attempt to enhance the relations with one of Russia’s friends in Europe at a time when diplomatic tensions between Russia and the EU and US persist, BBC’s correspondent in Athens, Thomas Fessy, says.

 

Putin also warned that Russia would be forced to respond to US moves in Europe, stressing that Washington’s missile shield bases in Romania and Poland were a direct threat to his country’s security.

 

“If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security.”

 

Earlier this month, the US put the anti-missile base in southern Romania to use. The base in Poland is expected to be operational in 2018.

 

The US says its shield was set up to protect NATO countries from short- and medium-range missiles, particularly from the Middle East.

 

 

 

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