23 December 201919:18

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions, Moscow, December 23, 2019

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Question: Reportedly, the Greek authorities are about to extradite Alexander Vinnik to the United States, not France, as earlier anticipated. Has this information been confirmed? What can you tell us about this?

Sergey Lavrov: The Greek court made a rather tricky ruling, as there were three requests by France, the United States and Russia. Contrary to what we discussed here with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who promised to once again review our arguments, including the updated information which includes amendments to Greek law, they did not tell us anything and took the decision, which states that the court recommended extradition (and the Justice Ministry agreed) to France, the United States and Russia, in that order.

Since France, I heard, has waived its request for extradition, it means that Vinnik will go to the United States, which he strongly disagreed with and went on a hunger strike over. We believe this is an absolutely unacceptable approach by our Greek colleagues, who, I emphasise once again, promised to take a closer look at the additional facts we presented to them, but this didn’t happen. We are maintaining close contact with them and are insisting on additional steps to consider our request. The Russian Embassy in Athens is working on this.

Question: What specific measures can Moscow take to counter US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream? When would they take effect?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot tell you everything. This matter requires quiet work and analysis. I can assure you that unacceptable and uncivil moves like this, in violation of all conceivable norms of international law and diplomatic and human behaviour, will not go without response.

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