The New York Times confirms the reports of Gazeta Polska: Russia wants to take over the Greek port of key importance for NATO

Alexandroupolis is one of the most important Greek ports, located in the center of the land and sea routes connecting Greece with Turkey. It is mainly used by travelers to get to the islands of Samothrace and Limnos, but the resort has other functions as well. Due to its strategic location on the eastern flank of NATO, it is of great logistical importance for the army.

In April 2022, the Greek daily I Katimerini wrote

“The port of Alexandroupolis in the north-eastern part of the country has become an important milestone for the shipment of NATO equipment to Eastern European member states as well as to crisis-ridden Ukraine. US military equipment is being shipped via Alexandroupolis to Bulgaria, Poland and Romania as NATO has decided to strengthen its eastern flank […].

The port played an important military role several months before the war broke out. In December 2021, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned the Greeks:

“There are more and more NATO soldiers, American soldiers on your territory. You are handing over hundreds and thousands of units of military equipment through Alexandroupolis. You are opening new facilities for NATO. At the same time, NATO calls us the enemy and formulates the main goal of the alliance, which is to deter Russia. That’s why it upsets us, you have to understand us. “

Recently, Russia has even more reasons to be nervous. On May 3, 2022, it was in Alexandropolis that the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal began.

This is a large project that will help Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Serbia become independent of Russian gas. It will be the second Greek LNG terminal, thanks to which Greece has the chance to become the main gas supplier for the Balkan region. The investment has been recognized by the European Union as a project of special importance. As the head of the European Council Charles Michel stated:

“We will end our dependence on Russian fossil fuels. This new LNG terminal is a geopolitical investment. It will help free Southeast Europe from Russian gas blackmail.”

Gazprom man and Germany

Unfortunately, the future of the port of Alexandroupolis – so crucial for the security of Europe, and especially Poland – has just been questioned. It turns out that it was intended for privatization. And the main favorite to win this or next year’s tender is the Greek businessman Dimitri Kopeluzu linked to Russia’s Gazprom.

In a 2007 ciphertext by the then American ambassador to Greece, we read: “Kopeluzu has a strategic position, thanks to which it influences the Greek natural gas market; operates to the benefit of Prometheus Gas, which functions as an extension of Gazprom’s network. There are growing concerns about the activities of Kopeluz that serve Russian interests and threaten the US government’s efforts to promote the diversification of supplies to the energy market in Greece and the surrounding region. “ The diplomat added that Kopeluzu and Prometheus Gas, at Gazprom’s request, are trying to maintain the Russian monopoly on natural gas in Europe.

If Kopeluz Group’s offer for the port of Alexandroupolis won the competition, it would increase Kopeluz’s already substantial portfolio of investments in key Greek infrastructure. The company of the businessman linked to Gazprom is the only private shareholder of Athens International Airport, and also manages 14 regional Greek airports.

The latter investment is particularly interesting. Well, in 2016, Kopeluzu Group together with the German company Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide received – as a result of Germany’s “privatization” pressure on Greece – a 40-year concession allowing the consortium to operate, manage, develop and maintain fourteen most important regional airports in Greece (including Thessaloniki, Corfu, Crete, Santorini, Rhodes, Kos and Mykonos). Let us add that the main shareholder of Fraport is … the German state of Hesse, the position of the head of this company is occupied by Stefan Schulte, a member of the CDU economic board, and the chairman of the supervisory board is Michael Boddenberg, until recently the head of the CDU parliamentary club in the parliament of Hesse.

As the “GP” checked – the cooperation between the Greek Kopeluzu, the Kremlin and the German of Angela Merkel’s party began earlier than the joint “privatization” of Greek seaports and airports. In November 2010, the then prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Dimitri Kopeluzu and the president of the Russian WTB banking group, Andrei Kostin (now subject to US and English sanctions), and the above-mentioned head of Fraport Stefan Schulte, participated in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone for the new passenger terminal of Pulkowo airport. The expansion, reconstruction and operation of the airport was carried out by the joint venture “Northern Capital Gateway”, which included Horizon Air Investments SA (a member of Kopeluzu Group), German Fraport, and Russian WTB Capital, a member of the WTB Group, which is one of the largest state-owned banking groups in Russia.

The Russian Tsar and the Chinese

Copeluzu is not the only Moscow man who, as a result of German pressure on Athens, controls much of Greece’s key transport infrastructure, and perhaps also takes over so much of NATO’s significant Alexandroupolis.

Namely, from 2021, one of the largest ports in the Eastern Mediterranean, being the gateway to the Balkans and Southeastern Europe – i.e. the port of Thessaloniki – 67 percent. is property of Ivan Savwidi. He is an oligarch close to Putin, one of Russia’s richest citizens, a former member of the Russian parliament (of course, on behalf of the United Russia party). In April 2022, the Federal National and Cultural Autonomy of the Greeks of Russia – an organization led by Sawwidi – sent vehicles and generators to sanctioned Donetsk terrorists in eastern Ukraine.

Savwidi is called “the Russian Tsar of Salonika”; already before 2021, it had 20 percent. shares in the port there. Another 47 percent. he bought from … the German fund Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, which took over this Greek company as a result of privatization in 2017, together with Belterra Investments controlled by Sawvidi. So the privatization of Thessaloniki was a joint acquisition of the port by the Germans and Putin’s friend, and then reselling the German shares to this Russian oligarch.

Now Savvidi has entered a tender for the purchase of the port of Alexandroupolis, already described. Its “competitor” is Kopeluz, who has the same connections. The only salvation seems to be the victory of the American consortium from Texas and Washington, also participating in the competition, but – according to unofficial reports – the Russian embassy is doing everything it can to block this offer.

If US companies do not win, then Germany – which blackmailed Greece to privatize strategic infrastructure as part of the “rescue” of the eurozone – all of Greece’s major airports and three key seaports will be in the hands of NATO’s enemies. In 2016, the port of Piraeus (a coastal city in the Athenian agglomeration) – the largest in Greece and one of the most important in Europe – was “privatized” in such a way that the majority of shares were purchased by COSCO, wholly owned by the Chinese communist regime.

COSCO has been cooperating with Russians for years, incl. in 2019, it signed an agreement for the transport of hydrocarbons from the arctic zone of Russia with the Russian shipowner Sowkomfłot and the largest Russian private natural gas producer, Novatek. Today, when all major shipping companies refuse to do business with the Russian Federation, COSCO is the exception: it is the only one to continue shipping containers to Russia. So it is not surprising that as early as 2021, on the road along the port of Piraeus, a Greek placed a graffiti: “They sold this place to China and Russia.”

Source: Gazeta Polska, niezalezna.pl

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