Greece lashes out at Russia's expulsion of Greek diplomats

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's foreign minister has lashed out at Russia's expulsion of Greek diplomats from Moscow earlier this week, as a spat between the two traditionally friendly countries grew more acrimonious.

Nikos Kotzias said in a statement Friday that the Russian move was "arbitrary and vengeful, and not based on any evidence."

Russia said Monday that it was responding quid pro quo to Greece's expulsion of two Russian diplomats last month, which it described as "unfriendly actions." Athens expelled the two, who were based at the Russian Embassy, in July amid allegations they helped fund protests against a deal signed between Greece and its northern neighbor Macedonia that would pave the way for Macedonia to join NATO.

Russia has strongly opposed NATO expansion to countries that once were under Moscow's influence.