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Russia is Greece's friend, but don't expect too much from us: Dep Finmin

Relations between Greece and Russia have remained strong throughout the two countries' economic and political crises but Russia's deputy finance minister told CNBC that his country was not in a financial position to help debt-laden Greece recover.

There has been much speculation over the years that Russia could step in to offer an alternative rescue package to Greece but the country itself saw its economy fall into recession following a dramatic slump in the oil price since 2014, and international sanctions for its annexation of Crimea and role in a pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine.


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras together in April 2015.
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras together in April 2015.

"Russia, of course, could be a friend (to Greece) from different points of view," Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak told CNBC on Friday.

"But at this stage, it's rather difficult to say that we are in a position to grant financial credits, with a budget deficit and huge demand for money internally, we now are very conservative in terms of granting external credits."

"But Russian companies are looking forward to being more involved in Greece's economy in terms of direct investments and I think that this will help the Greek economy," Storchak, who was appointed deputy finance minister in 2005, added.

Now on its third bailout program, Greece's relations with its lenders has deteriorated as the country struggles to meet the terms of its current 86 billion euro bailout. Part of its program commits the government to a privatization program, which has attracted foreign interest — notably from China and Russia.

Storchak added that the conditions for expanding Russian investment in Greece were good.

"My expectations are that the two nations will develop their relationship in different fields and it will be to the benefit of the Greek economy and Greek people."

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