Greece is set to decide whether it can continue working with Europe to come to an agreement over its debt crisis or whether it will ditch Europe altogether and turn to Russia for help. Turning away from Europe and towards Russia would create a huge political rift with Greece and EU powers.
Defence Minister, Panos Kammenos, said on Greek television, “we want a deal. But if there is no deal, and if we see that Germany remains rigid and wants to blow Europe apart, then we will have to go to Plan B”.
He continued “we have other ways of finding money. It could be the United States at best, it could be Russia, it could be China or other countries”.
The Telegraph report:
The implicit threat to team up with Russia comes up at an extremely delicate moment as French and German leaders attempt to negotiate a peace deal with President Vladimir Putin, and Washington mulls military aid for Ukraine.
Nikos Chountis, Greece’s deputy foreign minister, said on Tuesday that Russia and China had already offered financial support to the country. “There have been proposals, offers I would say, from Russia, recently after the election, for economic support as well as from China, regarding help, investment possibilities,” he said.
“We have not asked for it. It’s on the table. We’re discussing it,” he added, stressing that the first priority was to “exhaust all options” in reaching a deal with the eurozone.
Cyprus has already caused a political storm by offering to expand Russian access to its ports and airfields – including “military facilities” – though it has stopped short of offering full military bases.
It is far from clear whether Russia would be able to help Greece, given its own economic crisis at home and fast-depleting foreign reserves. It offered comforting words but little else to Cyprus two years ago, even before the crash in oil prices forced the Kremlin to tighten its belt.
While the Chinese have ample foreign reserves, they tread with great caution abroad. “Everybody has been waiting for China to rescue Europe for years but it never happens. There is no Chinese white knight,” said Ashoka Mody, a former IMF bail-out chief in Europe.