(News Desk) – Greece has recalled its ambassador to Russia amid tensions over Moscow’s alleged interference in the country’s affairs.
Russia’s TASS news agency said on Friday that Andreas Friganas, the ambassador of Greece in the Russian Federation, had been summoned.
“Mr. Friganas is being recalled to Greece. He completes his mission in Moscow and will be replaced by new,” the agency reported, without providing details on when the replacement could take place.
Friganas was appointed Greece’s ambassador to Moscow back in May.
Greece expelled two Russian diplomats in July and banned two Russian citizens from entering the country over national security concerns and allegations of meddling in its relations with Macedonia.
The Athens’ move also prompted Moscow to retaliate by expelling two Greek embassy staff from Russia.
“The Russian side’s decision is arbitrary, retaliatory and not based on any evidence,” the Greek foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday. “We want to remind our Russian friends that no country in the world would tolerate attempts to a) bribe state officials, b) undermine its foreign policy, and c) interfere in its internal affairs.”
Greece will respond to Moscow’s move “with forbearance and sobriety,” the ministry added.
Athens claimed that Moscow intended to thwart a deal between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece, which would allow Macedonia to join NATO.
The decades-long conflict between Greece and Macedonia was settled this June, after Skopje decided to change the name of the country.
Russia’s ambassador to Skopje had earlier criticized Macedonia’s ambitions to join NATO, saying it could become “a legitimate target” if relations between the military alliance and Moscow further worsen.