A visit to Moscow by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday raised concern that he might ask the Kremlin for financial aid to gain a bargaining chip with Western creditors reluctant to ease the harsh austerity measures imposed on the Balkan country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists after meeting with Tsipras that his Greek guest made no request for a handout. But the Kremlin leader said he had invited Greece to participate in building and operating the Turkish Stream pipeline that could generate hundreds of millions a year for the Athens government.
The pipeline project is still in the talking stage, Putin said, as was his offer to exempt Greece from a trade embargo on food imports from the European Union. Moscow barred the importation of select agricultural products from EU countries last year in retaliation for the Western bloc’s economic sanctions to punish Russian aggression in Ukraine.