Greece "does not agree" with sanctions imposed on Russia

MOSCOW -- Greece "does not agree" with the sanctions of the West against Russia, as it considers them "a road to nowhere," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

In an interview for TASS ahead of his visit to Moscow, he noted there was a chance to raise the level of trade between the two countries "to a higher level."

"We can have a significant partnership that will give Greece the ability to export agricultural products to the Russian Federation," Tsipras stressed.

"You know that in recent years this relationship suffered a blow from the previous government in my country that did not do what they could have done to avoid this senseless, in my opinion, policy of sanctions because of the crisis in Ukraine. This has resulted in an embargo on Greek agricultural products, which caused significant damage to the Greek economy," he said.

The head of the Greek government recalled that as soon as he assumed office, he received a message from European Council President Donald Tusk, who took Greece's position on the issue of sanctions "for grated."

"I called him, and (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) Federica Mogherini and said to them: 'Do not take the position of Greece for granted, the situation has changed, and now there's a different government in Greece. And now you have to ask us before making decisions',"- said Tsipras.

"We do not agree with the sanctions. I believe that this is a road that leads to nowhere. I support the view that dialogue and diplomacy are necessary, you need to sit down at the negotiating table and find solutions to most problems," he said.

"Economic war is a blind alley of politics," the Greek prime minister remarked, and added:

"I believe that the Minsk agreement is a very important achievement and that every effort should be made to end the tension in Ukraine."

He noted that when he first took part in a EU summit on March 19-20, he asked, "How do you imagine a new security architecture in Europe? Do you see it with Russia on the opposite side, or with Russia in the process of dialogue and mutual understanding?"

According to Tsipras, he received "no reply" from a majority of his colleagues.

"In my view, the answer is clear: a new European security architecture must include Russia," he concluded.

The European Union on Monday warned Greece not to seek assistance from Russia - as that would violate the common EU policy.