Greece to expel 12 Russian diplomats: FM
This comes as thousands of Greeks take to the streets over soaring prices in Athens.
Greece announced expelling 12 Russian diplomats on Wednesday, becoming the latest EU country to join the expulsion wave against Russia.
"Greek authorities have declared 12 members of diplomatic and consular missions of the Russian Federation accredited in Greece... as persona non grata," the Foreign Ministry said.
The move comes under the 1961 and 1963 Vienna conventions governing diplomatic and consular affairs, the Ministry claimed.
The Russian Ambassador was informed of the decision, but the timeframe was not provided.
The Russian Embassy in Greece warned on Facebook that "this action will not be without consequences," adding that it had "vigorously protested against this unjustified and aggressive move that will destroy all of our bilateral relations even further."
However, a traditional Russian ally bound by centuries of tradition and a shared Orthodox Christian faith, Greece has unequivocally condemned Moscow's operation in Ukraine.
Yesterday, Italy, Denmark, and Sweden have voted to expel a total of 48 Russian diplomats, making them the latest EU nations to take such action in the ongoing diplomatic crisis.
Last week, EU members Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic all declared the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats allegedly suspected of "espionage".
Slovakia soon followed suit with 35 diplomats expelled. Slovakia had expelled three Russian officials for claims of "espionage" earlier in March, and in retaliation for the country's decision, Russia deemed three Slovakians as persona non grata.
Greeks demonstrate over soaring prices
Thousands of Greeks protested over rising costs in Athens on Wednesday, as a nationwide strike shut down public services.
According to authorities, 10,000 people marched in the capital, with more protests taking place in other large cities. Ferry and train services were halted, though airports were unaffected by the walkout.
"Compared to the cost of living, salaries are paltry," said one of the demonstrators, 32-year-old teacher Yannis Bitzoulis. "Society is on its knees," he told AFP.
Countries across Europe are facing rising inflation as energy prices have jumped since the Western sanctions campaign was imposed on Russia, with the growing cost of living also sparking strikes and protests in fellow EU nation, Spain.
Greeks have been hit by rising electricity and heating bills as well as housing costs.
Prices jumped 6.2% in January, a record for Greece since it embraced the European Union's single currency in 2001. In February, it increased to 7.2%.
"Everything is more expensive, we can no longer cope," said Evangelia, who works for a social collective