Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gestures as he speaks at the Health ministry, in Athens, on Thursday, April 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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Greece's new left-wing prime minister, whose cash-strapped country is embroiled in tortuous negotiations with its European creditors, is heading to Moscow for a visit that has stirred high hopes in Athens but caused consternation elsewhere in Europe.Greece, dependent on international bailouts worth 240 billion euros since mid-2010, will run out of funds within weeks unless it reaches a deal with its creditors to release at least part of the last remaining 7.2 billion-euro bailout installment.Alexis Tsipras' government -- a coalition of the radical left and nationalist right elected in January on promises to repeal the austerity measures imposed as a condition of the rescue -- has been flirting with Moscow from the start.His trip may clarify whether he views his relationship with Russia as a potential bargaining chip, or whether he simply aims to enhance Greece's international relations and deepen the two countries' traditionally warm ties.Russia, whose own economy is struggling, could only offer limited financial help to Greece.Moscow hopes talks with Tsipras will help further weaken the EU's resolve to maintain the sanctions against Russia, said Sergei Oznobishchev, head of Russia's independent Institute of Strategic Assessment.The EU has made clear it expects every country in the 28-nation bloc to follow the common line on Russia.Not everyone in Greece's government has been playing the Russian card.
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