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Chafing at Sanctions, Moscow Pokes and Pries at EU Unity

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Standing before a classical Greek frieze at a press conference in Athens last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented his visit in terms suggesting a thinly disguised quid pro quo.
 
He promised to expand Russian investment in Greece's hard-hit economy and asked for Athens' support in lifting EU sanctions on Moscow. "Greece can affect [Russia's] relationships with the European Union," he said, before adding with a verbal wink, "even if we don't expect the Labors of Hercules in the courtyard of the European bureaucracy."
 
The Russian leader got the response he wanted. Standing beside him, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, "Everyone recognizes that there cannot exist a future for the European continent with the European Union and Russia at loggerheads."
 
The exchange was notable for its timing. It came just weeks ahead of an EU heads-of-state summit where the bloc's leaders will consider whether to renew the trade and financing sanctions they slapped on Moscow in 2014 over its actions in Ukraine, where it seized Crimea and has allegedly lent military support to separatist fighters.
 

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Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Chafing at Sanctions, Moscow Pokes and Pries at EU Unity

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