Greece eyes S-400: An Athenian surprise for NATO

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ATHENS – Greece is the second country now, following Turkey, to adopt a new policy towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United States.

Athens recently rejected an American request that it not allow Russia’s warships on its shores. The country has also reportedly held talks to buy S-400 air defense systems, which its regional rival Turkey will soon receive.

As Russia strengthens its presence in the eastern Mediterranean, near the Syrian, Turkish and Greek coasts as well as in the west of this sea, on the Spanish coasts, the United States is pressuring its allies not to admit Russian ships on their shores, the Rai al-Youm newspaper reported.

According to the report of the Arabic newspaper published in London –  Spain, which previously provided services to Russian ships, had refused to do so for three years. But Madrid now has recently again allowed Russian ships to dock in its southern ports.

Simultaneously with the Russian-Turkish cooperation following Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s, the latter authorized the docking of Russian ships on its coasts. Worried about Moscow’s rapprochement with its longtime rival, Greece has also given the green light to dock Russian warships in its ports despite pressure from the United States.

The Greek media reported the comments of experts and former soldiers who had advocated military cooperation with Russia and the purchase of S-400 missile systems, as Turkey has done.

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According to them, the accession of Greece to NATO does not hinder its military cooperation with Moscow.

Ankara, as a member of the Atlantic Alliance, broke the taboo on the purchase of Russian weapons and now Athens could be the second NATO member to do the same.

The Greeks do not feel that they are an important element in the Alliance and, in the bilateral conflicts with Ankara, accuse NATO of bias towards Turkey.

The military experts believe that if Turkey leaves NATO and closer to Russia, it is likely that Greece will also come out of the Atlantic Alliance.

Reports from Greek research centers claim that NATO would not defend the country in the event of war with Turkey and that Athens should instead look to count on Russian support to help ensure its national security.

Analysts believed previously that the election of Tsipras and his SYRIZA alliance would immediately see closer ties with Russia. As a result of failing to live up to numerous campaign promises on the domestic front, there has been less attention on the Greek government’s attempts to deal with Russia on a more fair footing than did prior administrations.

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