The possibility of increasing the number of arrivals from Russia allowed entry into Greece to 4,000 a week from the current 500, topped the agenda of a teleconference on Thursday between Greek Alternate Foreign Affairs Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev.
The two ministers spoke ahead of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit to Greece on March 24-25 on occasion of bicentennial celebrations marking the 1821 Greek War of Independence.
Referring to the importance of restoring air connectivity between the two countries, Varvitsiotis said Greece was looking to increase the number of weekly admissions of Russians visitors from 500 to 4,000 in order to facilitate more passenger arrivals.
“As of May  we will be able to welcome to Greece in a spirit of hospitality all Russian friends who want to visit our country,” he said.
Greece is a top holiday destination of choice for Russian holidaymakers. Tour operators there are expecting – given Covid-19 measures are eased – some 400,000-500,000 holidaymakers to visit Greek destinations this summer.
Currently, only 500 Russian nationals are allowed into Greece per week on flights landing exclusively in Athens, Thessaloniki, and Heraklion, Crete.
According to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), Covid-19 aviation directives for all international flights landing in Greece, are still in place, as is a seven-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals to Greece from abroad. Special restrictions are also in place for flights to Greece from Russia.
Varvitsiotis and Savelyev, co-chairs of the Joint Interministerial Greece-Russia Committee, also referred to the historically strong ties between the two countries and agreed to further explore joint actions in tourism, energy, road and rail transport, infrastructure, digital services, construction, technology and agricultural products.
Emphasis was also given to stimulating Greek exports and facilitating joint ventures between Greek and Russian companies.
Lastly, Varvitsiotis referred to Greece’s request for the repatriation of the Greek Israeli Communities archives which were transferred from Berlin to Moscow at the end of World War II.