Russian President Vladimir Putin received visiting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as the Kremlin on Friday, three and a half years after the latter last met him in Moscow and months after an unprecedented "frost" in bilateral relations.
In his first "on-camera" statement, Putin said "I welcome you to Moscow again with pleasure," before citing this year's 190th anniversary of the commencement of diplomatic relations between the modern Greek state and then Czarist Russia.
The "chill" in bilateral ties came after Athens expelled two Russian diplomats last June over what media reports said were the pair's activity in northern Greece to drum up opposition to the Prespa agreement between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM). The Kremlin takes a negative view to western Balkan states' Euro-Atlantic prospects, especially NATO membership.
Moscow retaliated by ordering a same-number of Greek diplomats to leave the country.
In his response, Tsipras uttered his favorite statement of late in international venues, namely, that "Greece is in a much better economic position" than the last time he was in the Russian capital.