Just days after Russia lifted sanctions on providing anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, Reuters reports that The Greeks are in talks with Russia to purchase missiles for the S-300 defense system. Greece, a NATO member, has been in possession of the advanced Russian-made systems since the late 1990s and in a defiant show of independence towards Troika, is now negotiating with Russia for the purchase of additional missiles and for their maintenance.
Greece is negotiating with Russia for the purchase of missiles for its S-300 anti-missile systems and for their maintenance, Russia's RIA news agency quoted Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos as saying on Wednesday.
The report followed a visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last week to Moscow, where he won pledges of Russian moral support and long-term cooperation but no fresh funds to help avert bankruptcy for his heavily indebted nation.
NATO member Greece has been in possession of the Russian-made S-300 air defense systems since the late 1990s.
"We are limiting ourselves to replacement of missiles (for the systems)," RIA quoted Kammenos, who is in Moscow for a security conference, as saying.
"There are negotiations between Russia and Greece on the maintenance of the systems ... as well as for the purchase of new missiles for the S-300 systems," he said.
The Greek defense ministry in Athens later issued a statement quoting Kammenos as saying: "The existing defense cooperation programs will continue. There will be maintenance for the existing programs."
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Two questions spring to mind:
1. Where is Greece - which is scratching around for every penny to repay The IMF - going to find the cash to pay for these missiles? We suspect the answer will be a loan from Russia (perhaps for more than the cost) as a roundabout way to provide Tsipras with funds upfront... and
2. Will The ECB accept new missiles as collateral? We suspect no...
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Perhaps, given Juncker's call for an EU Army, Greece is deciding it needs to strengthen its defenses from its Union counterparts?