Athens under pressure from US and Russia over sending anti

The Greek government finds itself in a diplomatic impasse, as Washington pressures Athens to send Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine, but remains silent about replacing them with Patriot-made ones by the United States.

The information site News247 reports that Washington is pressuring Athens to send S-300 missile systems to Ukraine, but seems unwilling to replace them with its Patriots.

Indeed, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos is said to have left open the possibility of sending the S-300s to Ukraine, provided that the United States first deploys Patriot missiles on the island of Crete and integrate into the national air defense system.

He also indicated that the same process applies to any other Russian air defense system that the United States wishes to send to Ukraine. Given Turkey’s growing hostility, Greece is keen to ensure that its defense capabilities will not be affected.

On December 19, thirty-one Turkish planes, twenty of which were armed, violated Greek airspace by crossing the Aegean Sea without filing a flight plan.

The news media HellasJournal recently asked the US government if Washington would replace the S-300s with Patriots. State Department spokesman Edward Price responded by throwing the ball back into Greece’s court.

“Each country must decide for itself what it is capable of preparing and providing for Ukraine. And we certainly appreciate the many ways the international community, including Greece, has shown its support.”Mr. Price said.

“We always refer to the (relevant) countries for any contribution they make or could make to Ukraine’s self-defense”added the former intelligence official.

Warning from Russia

At the same time, Russia has warned Athens against sending S-300s to Ukraine.

“We consider provocative intentions to supply the kyiv regime with S-300s and other Russian/Soviet-style air defense systems to be openly hostile to Russia”said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Ms Zakharova also specified that there should be no doubt that all military equipment sent to Kyiv would be “quickly detected and destroyed by the armed forces of the Russian Federation”. “Before it is too late, Greece can abandon these dangerous plans. Once again, we warn the Greek leaders against their responsibility”she added.

Russia’s permanent representative in Crimea, Georgy Muratov, had earlier said that such a move would be “a dangerous step for its national interests”. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Greek-Russian relations reached a historic low.

Moscow still cites surveys suggesting that the vast majority of Greeks (63%) oppose sending arms to Ukraine on the grounds that it puts Greece “in dangerous situations”.

A poll conducted in March also indicates that 32% of those questioned think that humanitarian aid and war material should be sent. Only 1% of those questioned believe that it is necessary to send “only war material”.

Athens under pressure from US and Russia over sending anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine