Greek PM condemns Russia sanctions

Alexis Tsipras and Vladimir Putin speaking from lecterns at a press conferenceImage copyright

The Greek prime minister has said sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine are not productive.

The EU is expected to renew sanctions in a matter of weeks.

Alexis Tsipras was speaking at a joint news conference in Athens with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Putin said there would be “no discussions” about Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that was seized by Kremlin-backed forces in 2014, leading to sanctions from the EU and US.

The territory, which has a Russian-speaking majority, later voted to join Russia in a referendum that Ukraine and Western countries deem illegal.

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Mr Tsipras told reporters: “We have repeatedly said that the vicious circle of militarisation, of Cold War rhetoric and of sanctions is not productive.

“The solution is dialogue.”

Mr 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.”

He also said that Russia would be forced to respond to US moves in Europe, warning that Washington’s missile shield was a direct threat to his country’s security.

Mr Putin’s visit to Greece is an attempt to reinforce a relationship with one of Russia’s friends in Europe at a time when diplomatic tensions continue between Russia, and the EU and US, the BBC’s Thomas Fessy in Athens says.

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