January 28, 2015 / 4:57 PM / 5 years ago

Greek minister says Athens against sanctions on Russia

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is against sanctions on Russia, newly appointed Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said on Wednesday, a day before the European Union is due to extend sanctions on Russia for six months.

“We are against the embargo that has been imposed against Russia. Greece has no interest in imposing sanctions On Russia. We have no differences with Russia and the Russian people,” said Lafazanis, according to the semi-official Athens News Agency.

Greece’s foreign minister has so far declined to comment on whether Athens would try to block the extension of sanctions when EU foreign ministers hold an extraordinary meeting on Thursday after a new advance by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the new Greek government of leftwing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras complained to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, saying it had not been consulted about a statement on the growing crisis in Ukraine.

Greece has had traditionally good relations with Russia and never strongly supported sanctions against Moscow.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Writing by Renee Maltezou, editing by Deepa Babington

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