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Russia and Greece say spat over diplomats expulsions is over

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (Maxim Shemetov, Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW — The leaders of Russia and Greece say they have overcome a rift over the expulsions of diplomats that have strained their traditionally friendly ties.

Greece in July expelled two Russian diplomats amid allegations they helped fund protests against a deal between Greece and its northern neighbour Macedonia intended to pave the way for Macedonia to join NATO.

Russia responded in kind, expelling two Greek diplomats in August.

Putin said, after Kremlin talks Friday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, that Russia still considers the Greek action unfounded. Putin said that any such tensions could be solved without “theatrical gestures,” but added “that page has been turned.”

Tsipras also said Greece considers the dispute closed and emphasized the importance of the country’s close ties with Russia.

The Associated Press