Greece expels Russian diplomats - media

Greece expels Russian diplomats - media

Greece will expel two Russian diplomats and ban entry to another two over suspicions they tried to undermine an agreement between Athens and the neighboring Macedonia last month, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported, citing diplomatic sources.

Greece accused the Russian diplomats of activities inconsistent with their status, including illegal activities against national security.

The Athens authorities ordered the expulsions and bans after perceived 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, the newspaper added.

"The deal between Greece and Macedonia is expected to ease the admission of the small but strategically-important state into NATO, in a region where Russia and the West are jostling for influence," Reuters cited the newspaper as saying.

The newspaper said Greek authorities were investigating intrusion into domestic policy issues and quoted diplomatic sources as saying the suspicions were solely focused on those four individuals.

Russia’s foreign ministry said it would respond in kind to the expulsions, Interfax news agency reported. A Greek foreign ministry official declined to make an immediate comment.