Russia Readies Fuel Deliveries To Athens, Will Support Greek “Economic Revival”
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Source of report here.
Russia and Greece have a “special relationship of spiritual kinship and religious and historical affinity,” Vladimir Putin said yesterday, following the BRICS summit in Ulfa.
Over the course of the unfolding crisis in Greece, Athens has at various times gone out of its way to remind Angela Merkel that allowing the country to crash out of the currency bloc may force the Greeks to turn to their other international “friends” (to use Nigel Farage’s words) for assistance. Facing economic sanctions from the EU in connection with its alleged role in destabilizing Ukraine not to mention a spiteful anti-trust suit against Gazprom, the Kremlin has been more than happy to use the rising tensions between Athens and Brussels to its geopolitical advantage.
So far, discussions between Russia and Greece have revolved primarily around energy, and several months back, when negotiations between Athens and creditors began to deteriorate in earnest, reports began to surface that Moscow may consider advancing Greece some €5 billion against the future proceeds from the Greek portion of the proposed Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline.
Although the loan never materialized, the agreement on the pipeline did, and it was held up last week as proof that Greece is “no one’s hostage.”
Now, that contention will be put to the test as Greece faces the prospect of a “swift time-out” from the eurozone if PM Alexis Tsipras can’t convince parliament to agree to a new term sheet from creditors which seeks the implementation of a number of draconian measures in exchange for a third bailout. Of course, as we noted earlier today, a “time-out” is a polite way of saying “get the hell out,” and in the event of a messy exit and forced redenomination, an acute cash and credit crunch will likely mean a shortage of critical imports and, in short order, a humanitarian crisis.
Given the mood in Brussels over the weekend, Greece could be forgiven for not putting much faith in Jean Claude-Juncker’s “humanitarian plan”, but that’s ok because as AFP reports, Russia is ready to help:Russia is considering direct deliveries of fuel to Greece to help prop up its economy, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Sunday, quoted by Russian news agencies.
“Russia intends to support the revival of Greece’s economy by broadening cooperation in the energy sector,” Novak told journalists, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
“Accordingly we are studying the possibility of organising direct deliveries of energy resources to Greece, starting shortly.”
Novak said that the energy ministry expected “to come to an agreement within a few weeks,” but did not specify what type of fuel Russia would supply.
Greece’s left-wing leadership has made a show of drawing closer to Moscow in recent months as the spat with its international creditors has grown more ugly.
In June, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a visit to Russia sealed a preliminary agreement for Russia to build a 2-billion-euro ($2.2 billion) gas pipeline through Greece, extending the TurkStream project, which is intended to supply Russian gas to Turkey.
And so it begins. Angela Merkel has long known that one consequence of a Grexit would be a stepped up role for the Kremlin in the Greek economy and Greek politics.
This effecitvely gives Moscow a foothold in Europe just as Russia’s deteriorating relationship with the West threatens to plunge the world into a new Cold War (a situation that’s been made immeasurably worse by recent NATO war games and sabre rattling).
Or, summarized visually (because this never gets old):