“Greece has always been on the side of the Allies when they fought back German occupation armies … The behavior and statements of German politicians, which seem to wish to replace NATO and EU officials, are not only disallowed but approach blackmail”, was Panos Kammenos comment
Kammenos also blamed German DM Ursula von der Leyen for trying to “undermine European institutions, part of German aims to break apart the EU and NATO”.
Though, he added, “Greece is unwilling to replace Germany in its privileged relations with Russia”.
On Wednesday, February 4th,Defence Minister Panos Kammenos told AFP that Greece’s new government remains committed to its NATO role despite close ties with Russia that have worried its allies.
Speaking after his first meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and on the eve of a gathering of the alliance’s defence ministers, Kammenos played down concerns that Athens could go soft on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
“We spoke a lot about relations between the alliance and Greece; I assured them that relations will continue as before,” Kammenos said in an interview at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
“We will continue our cooperation on a political level and also on a military level.”
A NATO official said Stoltenberg had “thanked Greece for its continued commitment to the Alliance.”
“He stressed that Greece has contributed substantially to NATO for over six decades and said he counts on the steadfast commitment of Greece to NATO.”
Kammenos played down any fears for Greece’ s commitment to NATO saying that “We have seen these reports concerning Greece’s and NATO bonds, in recent days all around the world, but Greece will continue to be a member of Europe and NATO, that’s for sure.”
On the same moment , he made clear that Greece would maintain its ties with Russia too.
“Of course Greece has political relations with Russia. These relations are not hidden, these are open relations and we will continue to have those relations,” he said.
“The majority of Greek agricultural production is exported to Russia and now with the sanctions that has really affected farmers,” he said.
“Also we have (Russian) military equipment, we discussed that with the secretary general. We will continue to source spare parts so that we are able to keep this equipment, which will remain within NATO.” the Greek Minister of Defence added.