Greece and Russian Federation expel diplomats - English

The Greek authorities have chose to expel two Russian diplomats from the country, reported sources of the Kathimerini newspaper.

Greece's government did not respond directly to the reports but its spokesman said it would not tolerate any behaviour which violates global law.

Greece called for the immediate expulsions amid claims that a number of Russian diplomats were involved in efforts in the country to extract material that could then be used to bribe Greek state officials, the Athens daily Kathimerini reports.

Greece's Kathimerini newspaper said Athens authorities ordered the expulsions after suspected attempts by the Russian diplomats to undermine an agreement Greece brokered with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia last month which ended a decades-old diplomatic standoff over its name.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said it would respond in kind to the expulsions, Interfax news agency reported.

The deal is expected to pave the way for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in a region where Russian Federation and the West are jostling for influence.

The accusation against them is "intrusion into domestic affairs and illegal acts against Greece's national security", the report said. The sources added that Greece had been cautious about relations with Russia, particularly refraining from following the example of many Western states that had expelled Russian diplomats in the wake of the Skripal incident - a decision welcomed by the Russian leadership.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said at the time that while he wanted to "express solidarity" with the United Kingdom, "we also need to be responsible on that issue".

"It is within that framework, and whenever required, measures have been taken".

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