US Ambassador Pyatt says Russia undermining patriarch

The United States Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said there is evidence of Russian efforts to undermine Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew but didn’t say what it was nor why it was being done.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event on disinformation, Pyatt said, “We’ve seen evidence of this kind of manipulation of information in Greece. We’ve seen Russian efforts in the Church, the efforts to undermine the role of the Ecumenical Patriarch.”

But he said he hadn’t seen any proof that Russia, with a United States Special Prosecutor investigating alleged tampering with the 2016 President elections through hacking and other measures, was trying to to meddle in Greece’s parliamentary elections on May 26.

The event was organized by the Atlantic Council, together with the US Embassy to Greece and Greek think tank diaNEOsis. He said that the aim of the event was to raise awareness so that Greek institutions and the media “can be alert and able to respond.”

Last year, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA booted two Russian diplomats it accused of trying to undermine a deal the government made to rename The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as North Macedonia.

The agreement was pushed through with the aid of United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz, an American lawyer who had failed for two decades to end what turned into a near 28-year name dispute with speculation the US squeezed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to get North Macedonia into NATO as a bulwark against Russian interests in the Balkans.

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