Greece wants more energy and weapons from Russia
The Greek Prime Minister is set to do his own spot of Christmas shopping in Moscow. A $US 1.7 billion arms deal is on the table.
“Such a large deal is a bright example of how our military co-operation with Greece is expanding,” commented military expert Dmitry Vasilyev.
NATO member Greece has already bought Russian S-300 and Thor air-defence systems. Russia also supplied the Greek army with Cornet anti-tank weapons.
Athens is now looking to add more than 400 Russian BMP infantry fighting vehicles.
The visit comes amid fresh tension between Russia and NATO over Moscow's suspension of its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.
The man in charge of the arms sale, Mikhail Dmitriev, spoke exclusively to RT about the deal.
“This BMP-3 project is a very serious one. It’s not simply about sales – many spare parts for the vehicles are going to be made in Greece,” stated Dmitriev, the Head of the Federal Service for Military Co-operation.
Greece might now become the first NATO member state to gain rights to produce Russian military spare parts.
Another key topic to be discussed is energy. In May Vladimir Putin and his Greek counterpart Kostas Karamanlis initiated the 280-km long Burgas-Alexandropolis pipeline.
Just months later, Athens has also given its backing to a pipeline project that would run from Azerbaijan to Italy, by-passing Russia.
“We can see this issue from many sides but it seems that the most appropriate thing here is the checks and balances policy of the Greek government,” said energy expert Nikolay Sergeev.
It's the second visit of Kostas Karamanlis to Moscow and Putin has visited Greece three times since 2005 and it seems the leaders have developed a close working relationship.
During last summer's devastating wildfires in Greece, Russia sent firefighting planes and helicopters to help the country's emergency services.