Russian President Vladimir Putin offered on Wednesday Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras moral support and long-term cooperation but no financial aid, leaving Athens to fend for itself in resolving urgent debt problems with Western creditors.
The leftist-led Greek government, at loggerheads with its euro zone and International Monetary Fund creditors, risks running out of money within weeks unless it can reach a new cash-for-reform deal.
“The Greek side has not addressed us with any requests for aid,” Putin told a joint news conference after Kremlin talks. “We discussed cooperation in various sectors of the economy, including the possibility of developing major energy projects.”
Tsipras added: “Greece is not a beggar going around to countries asking them to solve its economic problem, an economic crisis that doesn’t only concern Greece but is a European crisis.”
Athens managed to sell 1.138 billion euros (1.24 billion) in six-month Treasury bills on Wednesday to keep itself afloat. The next test comes on Thursday when the government is due to repay the IMF 450 million euros, leaving it scraping state agencies’ cash reserves to pay April public sector salaries and pensions.
Greece must roll over another 1 billion euros in short-term debt on April 15.
On a maiden visit to Moscow that caused unease among some EU partners, Tsipras mostly heeded warnings from Brussels and Berlin not to break ranks with European Union economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in destabilizing Ukraine.
He told the news conference that Greek exports had been hurt by Russian counter-measures he called understandable, and said he had made clear to his EU peers that he disagreed with the rationale for “economic warfare”.