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Russian embassy warns of ‘consequences’ after Greece orders expulsion of 12 diplomats

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Russia’s embassy in Athens on Wednesday warned of “consequences” after Greece asked 12 Russian diplomats to leave the country over the war in Ukraine.

“We have strongly protested against this unjustified and hostile step which aims to further destroy our bilateral relations,” the embassy said in a statement. 

“We made clear that this action will not remain without consequences.”

This statement comes after Greece declared 12 Russian officials personae non gratae earlier on Wednesday.

According to Ekathimerini, Russian Ambassador Andrey Maslov was summoned to the Greek Foreign Ministry to be notified of the decision.

The Foreign Ministry said the decision was made in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

READ MORE: Ukraine’s President thanks Greek FM for offering to lead humanitarian aid mission.

Greece pushing back phase-out of lignite plants:

The Greek Foreign Ministry announcement comes as Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, also said on Wednesday that Greece will push back the phase-out of lignite plants to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas.

READ MORE: Greece, Cyprus and Israel to expand energy cooperation amid Ukraine war.

Mitsotakis made the announcement at the inauguration of a 204.3 MW photovoltaic park by Hellenic Petroleum in Kozani. Photo: Twitter.

Mitsotakis said Greece will boost coal mining by 50% and extend the operation of all its coal-fired power plants to 2028, instead of closing them down by 2023 as previously planned.

“It is a temporary measure,” Mitsotakis said at the inauguration of a 204.3 MW photovoltaic park by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), Greece’s biggest oil refiner, in Kozani. 

Mitsotakis added that “in no case” will these changes affect Greece’s announced goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

US Undersecretary of State: Russians must access the truth on Ukraine

Elsewhere, the US Undersecretary of State, Victoria Nuland, paid a visit to Cyprus on Wednesday and stressed that Russian “disinformation” about its war against Ukraine needs to be exposed, including on Russia’s “war crimes.” 

“We all have an interest in exposing Russian disinformation, ensuring our citizens have the truth and ensuring that Russian citizens also (have the truth)… despite the Iron Curtain that Putin has put down over that,” Nuland said during her official visit.

According to Ekathimerini, Nuland was asked whether the US had asked Cyprus to transfer its Russian-made weapons and she said: “It is not for the United States to ask of Cyprus. It is for Cyprus to make its own decisions about what it wants to and can do.”

Cypriot officials said no weapons would be transferred to Ukraine without securing replacements, to avoid weakening the war-divided island nation’s defences.

READ MORE: US asks Cyprus to transfer its Russian-made weapons to Ukraine.

Nuland was in Cyprus as part of a five-nation tour aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and rallying support for Ukraine. This included a visit to Greece as well.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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