Russia recognizes name of ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ despite doubts

Russia recognizes the Republic of North Macedonia as the country’s new official name, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday, despite having previously expressed reservations about the legitimacy of the name change.

The country’s parliament passed an amendment to the constitution in January to rename the country, under anagreement with Greece to put an end to a 27-year-old dispute between the neighboring countries.

As Moscow recognized the Republic of North Macedonia by its new official name Monday, Panos Kammenos and Nikos Kotzias picked up their bickering over the so-called Prespes accord again.

Speaking on Monday, Kotzias, Greece’s former foreign minister and architect of the Prespes deal, said that the Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader’s opposition to the accord was a political sham as he had been aware that pursuing a settlement based on a compound name was part of the Tsipras government’s manifesto in January 2015.

“He knew all about it,” Kotzias said.

“From the very beginning he had given his consent to the start of negotiations to bring the issue to a close.”

Just a few hours later, Kammenos broke his recent silence following reported surgery.

Calling Kotzias “the traitor of Macedonia,” Kammenos threatened to send the ex-minister to prison.

“After I recover with the help of God, I will expose his grave crimes to the Greek people and have him end up in shackles,” he said in a message on Twitter.

Meanwhile Monday, the Russian Embassy in Skopje received a note from the Russian Foreign Ministry confirming Moscow’s official recognition of the Balkan country’s new name, despite previously voicing objections to the legitimacy of the name-change deal.

At the same time, Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos Monday downplayed recent concerns in Athens that North Macedonia has on occasion failed to implement the name deal in its entirety.

“It is positive that every time we note this to other side the problem is immediately rectified,” he said in Brussels.

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