by Kerin Hope
July 19, 2018
The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has called off a visit to Athens following the expulsion from Greece of two Russian diplomats accused of trying to step up nationalist protests against the country’s recent naming deal with Macedonia.
The Russian ambassador to Athens, Andrei Maslov, said on Thursday the timing of the trip was “no longer suitable,” according to the Tass news agency.
The leftwing Syriza-led government last month issued an invitation to Mr Lavrov to visit Greece in September.
Under Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, Greece has maintained close ties with Russia. But a strong backlash against last month’s naming agreement has sent the government’s popularity plunging in opinion polls.