BRUSSELS – With the Ukrainian city of Mariupol under continued bombardment during the Russian invasion and some people already starving during its siege, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the 150,000 ethnic Greeks there face risks of surviving.
He said the humanitarian crisis is worsening as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces continue to deliberately target civilians he said they weren’t, scenes showing tanks firing into apartment buildings and bombs hitting hospitals, schools and theaters which sheltered people.
Dendias said Chechen fighters noted for their brutality have joined Russian forces facing fierce resistance as the rest of the world watches, not wanting to intervene apart from sending weapons to help Ukrainian fighters and tweeting support.
Dendias was speaking ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels to discuss the war in Ukraine, which was in its 26th day on March 21, the third time they had gathered since it began but unable to do much but watch.
He added that the Greek government was doing its best “to safeguard the future” of the Greek Diaspora in Mariupol said Kathimerini, but it wasn’t clear what that was as there were no reports he had reached out to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to intervene and help save ethnic Greeks.
Greece’s Consul-General in Mariupol, Manolis Androulakis, was the last European Union diplomat to get out of the city and said it’s gradually being destroyed and that he had helped dozens of Greeks and ethnic Greeks get out.
There were no indications that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had reached out to Putin either during the grim siege that has seen an Orthodox country bombing Orthodox victims.
Androulakis got out of the city and and after a four-day trip through Ukraine he crossed to Romania through Moldavia, along with 10 other Greek nationals, said the Reuters news agency.
“What I saw, I hope no one will ever see,” Androulakis said as he arrived at Athens International Airport and was reunited with his family, the report added, as he told how savage the attacks were.
“Mariupol will become part of a list of cities that were completely destroyed by war; I don’t need to name them – they are Guernica, Coventry, Aleppo, Grozny, Leningrad,” Androulakis said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Russia’s siege of Mariupol was “a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” but the United States said it will take no part in trying to stop Russian attacks, nor will NATO.
At least 10 ethnic Greeks have been killed and several have been injured since Russia started attacking Mariupol. More than 150 Greek citizens, vessel crews and ethnic Greeks have been evacuated from the region, the Greek Foreign Ministry said.
Mariupol, a city of more than 400,000 before the war, has historically had a sizeable population of ethnic Greeks who have been active in trade and shipping in the region since the Byzantine period, the report added.