MOSCOW — Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will be visiting the "heartlands" of the Pontic Greek community in Russia on the sidelines of his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Sochi.
After concluding his talks at the Sochi resort, Dendias will visit the cities of Anapa and Gelendzhik on southern Russia's Black Sea coast, where thousands of Greeks live.
"We look forward to the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, and the fact that this visit is dedicated to the meeting with the Greeks of the Southern Russian Regions of Krasnodar and Stavroupoli," the president of Hellenic Centre of Gelendzhik, Aflaton Solahov, said to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
The Greek foreign minister started his tour of the cities and the surrounding villages with dense Greek populations from Anapa, where he will land at the airport named after a Soviet air force legend of Greek origin, Vladimir Kokkinakis.
Dendias is going to lay a wreath at the statue of Kokkinakis at Anapa airport, which bears his name as of June 2020, and from there will travel by road on Tuesday to the town of Gelendzhik and the surrounding villages.
"We are very happy that the Greek minister will meet us, he will visit the Hellenic Centre and our museum, he will talk to Greeks who will come to greet him," Solahov said.
Asked what he would like to ask of the Greek minister, Solahov replied:
"Only the love of Greece. We ask for nothing else, but to be close to you and useful for the country, which we feel we belong to mentally and spiritually."