GREECE DEFENDS RUSSIA: Says sanctions are inappropriate

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ATHENS – Dimitris Velanis, a counselor to the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, said in a conversation with Russian journalists on Thursday that he considered the sanctions imposed on Russia as well as the retaliatory measures adopted by Moscow to be inappropriate.

According to the official of the Greek government, responsible for Russian and Eastern European issues, this situation has only caused damage to the Greek economy and hampered the development of the country.

“We understand that the market disruption was caused by this confrontation, and I personally think it is inappropriate when the policy interferes with the economy and prevents economic development. I am sure that this issue will be resolved. Greece is in difficult economic conditions, and the export of Greek agricultural goods suffers from these sanctions,” he said.

Still according to Velanis, a few years ago, Greek exports to Russia were between 500 and 700 million euros, while last year they totaled only 170 million euros.

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“Greek exports to Russia have fallen a lot. Greek producers and the Russian market suffer from this, since the quality of Greek products was much better than many competitors.”

Meanwhile, Italy’s desire to build trade ties with China is not a move against the United States but an effort to “maximize” its own interests, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said before the Chinese president’s visit last month.

Italy signed a non-binding memorandum of support for China’s global trade and infrastructure network, nicknamed the New Silk Road, during Xi’s visit, and signaled its intention to play an important role in the grand scheme, despite warnings from Washington about the project.

The move made Italy the first G7 country to support the initiative, which aims to link China by sea and land to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Rome hopes that its involvement will help revitalize the Italian economy by providing greater access to the Chinese market.

Frattini told RT that the project is of “very high significance” for Italy and could be “a real bridge” linking Asia and Europe. Recognizing the US warning to Italy to stay away from what it called China’s “vanity project”, Frattini said that Italy’s involvement “is not a message against the United States but a message to maximize European interests.”

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