Bilateral relations between Greece and Russia in economic affairs, education and culture, as well as deeper cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries, dominated a meeting between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday. The two ministers also discussed regional issues relating to the Balkans, the Cyprus issue, Russia's relations with the European Union and NATO, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Regarding Ukraine, the Greek foreign minister also mentioned the 160,000 ethnic Greeks living in Mariupol, noting that the presence of the Greek community in the area dated back centuries and that its fate "interests us greatly."
He also expressed his satisfaction over the hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists due to visit Greece after the World Cup.
Following their meeting, it was announced that Lavrov will visit Greece in September to prepare for a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Replying to questions regarding the agreement hammered out by the governments of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to resolve the name dispute, Kotzias said such a deal could put an end to a dispute that has beset the Balkans for 70 years, eliminating irredentism.
After his meeting with Lavrov, Kotzias had meetings with members of prestigious Russian think tanks. At 16:00, he was due to be made an honorary lecturer of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) and at 18:30 he will meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
The Greek minister's visit to Russia follows up a recent round of high-level meetings held by Kotzias in the United States and Berlin.