Putin congratulates Tsipras on Greek vote win



Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday congratulated Greece’s left-wing prime minister Alexis Tsipras on his thumping poll victory.

Tsipras secured his second mandate as premier this year at a snap general election Sunday that should allow him to drive through unpopular reforms agreed under an austerity deal struck with international creditors.

With around 90 percent of votes counted, Syriza looked set to secure close to an absolute majority in the country’s 300-seat parliament, with a smaller nationalist party expected to join forces and push it over the top.

Putin congratulated the Greek leader in a telegram and “expressed hope for the continuation of constructive dialogue and active shared work for the future strengthening of mutually beneficial Russian-Greek cooperation”, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Tsipras sparked ire in some Western European capitals by cosying up to Putin in a series of visits to Russia as Greece’s bitter debt negotiations dragged on earlier this year.

Tsipras met Putin — locked in his own standoff with the European Union over Ukraine — twice, overseeing an agreement on a two-billion-euro ($2.18 billion) gas pipeline and denouncing Western sanctions against Moscow.

Russia — suffering its own economic crisis due to low oil prices and sanctions — was never a serious alternative to bail out Greece’s beleaguered economy.

Greece and its international creditors eventually agreed a third debt bailout deal worth up to 86 billion euros.

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