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19 Dec, 2022 19:06

Russia threatens Greece with consequences for arming Ukraine

Athens would violate its treaties with Moscow if it sent missile defense systems to Kiev, the Russian Foreign Ministry has warned
Russia threatens Greece with consequences for arming Ukraine

Russia would consider a Greek plan to provide Ukraine with S-300 air defense systems previously acquired from Moscow to be an “openly hostile act,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday. Greece has mulled sending such Soviet-era arms to Kiev if the US agrees to replace them with MIM-104 Patriot systems.

“That would be a gross violation of…Russian-Greek…agreements on military and technical cooperation,” Zakharova stated, adding that both the 1995 and 2013 treaties signed by Moscow and Athens in this field “explicitly forbid Greece to re-export the military equipment supplied by Russia without Moscow’s consent.”

“Trampling on its commitments under the treaties is bound to have consequences,” the ministry’s spokeswoman warned. Such a move would also conflict with the position of most Greeks, she said, adding that 70% of Greeks oppose “pumping Ukraine with arms” according to polls.

Although Zakharova did not cite her source, a survey conducted by Greek broadcaster Mega TV in March showed that some two-thirds of Greeks were against sending military equipment to Kiev.

Athens is considering delivering to Ukraine its long-range S-300 air defense missile systems stationed on the island of Crete. On Sunday, Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos said that such a move would be possible as soon as the US replaces them with Patriots.

“If the United States installs a Patriot system on the island and after it is integrated – connected to the national air defense system – then the S-300 can be removed,” Panagiotopoulos told a Greek Defense Ministry meeting.

The recent statements from Greece demonstrate a U-turn in the nation’s position since June. At that time, Panagiotopoulos maintained that Athens “will not be sending the S-300 weapons systems” to Ukraine since it needs them at home.

Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that arms shipments to Ukraine only prolong the conflict. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the West had de facto turned Ukraine into “a colony” and was using Ukrainians “as cannon fodder” and a battering ram against Russia while supplying Kiev with weapons.