ATHENS (Sputnik) — Russia might be an alternative source of "substantial financial" benefits to Greece amid its debt crisis, Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Greek minister for energy and the environment, said.
"The development of Greece-Russia relations could contribute to substantial financial and energy-related benefits for my country. This could help Greece extricate itself from one-sided dependencies and gain more independence… and contribute to higher security and stability," Lafazanis told the Telegraph on Friday.
The further development of Greek-Russian relations in all fields would be "absolutely compatible" with Greece's presence in the European Union, Lafazanis stressed.
Greece was particularly hard-hit by the aftereffects of the 2008 economic crisis, quickly going into a multibillion debt by accepting large loans offered by the international lenders, which included the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB).
To date, the country’s national debt is estimated at some $350 billion.
Greece was due to make a scheduled $330-million repayment to the IMF on Friday, but decided to skip the deadline. Athens said it would make all of its four IMF debt repayments in one go before the end of June, when Greece's bailout deal with the three creditors expires.
The Greek authorities also rejected to carry out complex and unpopular economic reforms, as had been proposed by the European lenders.