Greece has not asked Russia for financial aid to improve its perilous financial predicament, according to a government official.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrived in Moscow on Tuesday and is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. The leaders are set to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries, amid expectations that Russia may offer cheaper gas prices and could even lift a ban on fruits and vegetable imports from the EU-member.
With a major debt repayment of €448m (£327m, $487m) due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 9, some analysts have predicted that Greece could ask Russia for financial assistance.
A Greek government official told Reuters news agency that the talks would not cover financial assistance. "We have not asked for financial aid," the official told Reuters. "We want to solve our debt and financial issues...within the eurozone."
"Greece knows what to do within the EU framework but every country also has the sovereign right to look after and improve its bilateral relations."
Tsipras was warned by European Parliament chief Martin Schulz that Greece must not break the EU line on sanctions towards Russia.
Europe imposed tough economic penalties on Russia after it annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. The measures have increased in severity after the EU accused Russia of fuelling a conflict in eastern Ukraine, by providing pro-Russian separatists with fighters and weapons.
Moscow has always denied any involvement in the conflict and imposed retaliatory sanctions on European fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Russian agriculture minister said on Tuesday that Russia could remove the sanctions on a handful of European countries, including Greece, Cyprus and Hungary.
Meanwhile, a Russian business newspaper reported on Tuesday that energy giant Gazprom could offer Athens a discount on the price it charges for natural gas.