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Greece lashes out at Russia's expulsion of Greek diplomats

AP  |  Athens 

lashed out today at Russia's expulsion of Greek diplomats from this week, as a spat between the two traditionally friendly countries grew more acrimonious.

The foreign ministry issued a statement describing the Russian move as "arbitrary and vengeful, and not based on any evidence."

said Monday it was responding quid pro quo to Greece's expulsion of two Russian diplomats last month, which it described as "unfriendly actions."

expelled the two, who were based at the Russian Embassy, in July amid allegations they helped fund protests against a deal between and its northern neighbour that would pave the way for to join NATO.

has strongly opposed NATO expansion to countries that once were under Moscow's influence.

"The decision by the was not based on evidence, as was that of the Greek side," the statement said, adding had acted based on "specific evidence of illegal and irregular activity by Russian officials and citizens" in in expelling the Russian diplomats.

The ministry said it "would like to remind our friends the Russians that no country in the would tolerate attempts a) to buy off state officials, b) undermine foreign policy, and c) intervene in the country's internal affairs."

The ministry said Greece would respond "with patience and sobriety" to what it described as "the arbitrary measures taken by the leadership of the " It did not elaborate.

Under the deal signed earlier this year between Greece and Macedonia, is dropping its objections to its northern neighbour joining NATO and the European Union, in return for changing its name to

The agreement, which has been signed but still faces ratification in the two countries to take effect, would settle a decades-old dispute with Greece, which maintained that use of the term "Macedonia" harboured territorial aspirations on its own northern province of the same name.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 17:30 IST