Alexis Tsipras says the 'crisis scenarios' over his country's debt problems are wrong and that a solution is still possible, despite a deadlock in negotiations with creditors. The Greek prime minister was speaking in Russia. But, as Ivor Bennett reports, depositors back home have reportedly withdrawn more than one billion euros out of their banks in a single day.
You'd have thought he'd be showing the strain by now. But as Greece's crisis deepens, Alexis Tsipras only appears to be getting more relaxed. The Prime Minister meeting members of the Greek community in St. Petersburg and reiterating his optimism for the future. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "It is very important to draw our strength from our knowledge that justice is on our side. That's why our goal - and this is not only the goal of the government, this is the goal of the whole Greek people - is to return sovereignty to our country and go further with our head held high." The optimism comes despite a run on Greek banks. Sources saying that more than 1 billion euros was withdrawn in a single day. Greece's central bank has tried to calm savers with assertions of stability. But Tsipras's visit to Russia suggests he may not be so sure. A meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum an attempt perhaps to sound out more funding. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "Many people wonder why I'm here today and not in Brussels to negotiate. I'm here because I believe that the role of a country, that wants to explore its potential to succeed, is to be able to have a multi dimensional policy in its relations with countries which today play a pivotal role in global financial developments." Like Tsipras, Vladimir Putin was in typically ebullient form Insisting here that Russia's economy is back on track. But talk of a bailout for Greece is just that, says Carsten Brzeski at ING Germany. Despite an acknowledgment from Russia's deputy Prime Minister that it is a consideration. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CARSTEN BRZESKI, CHIEF ECONOMIST ING GERMANY, SAYING: "Will Russia really get involved? I don't think so. Look at the Russian economic situation. Russia is also in a recession, has lots of problems of its own." Aside from the warm words, Tsipras will have something to show from his visit. The two countries have signed an agreement for an extension to the planned Turkish Stream gas pipeline to Europe. Greece allowing it to pass through its territory in return for financing from Russia, and part ownership.