ATHENS – There’s no word that Russia will allow it while having had stopped similar attempts, but Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is reaching to see if he could lead a humanitarian mission to the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, home to as many as 150,000 ethnic Greeks.
Displomatic efforts were underway, said Kathimerini, but it wasn’t indicated if Dendias would reach out to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which he has met many times, to assist.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier welcomed the idea and the paper said that Dendias has also spoken to Ukrainian foreign chief Dmytro Kuleba but it’s unclear how any supply and food trucks would get through.
Russia is still bombing civilian targets in the city and barring any idea of a humanitarian corridor to let them out but the report said that Dendias would escort vehicles along with the President of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said that the Greek community in Ukraine “is in our thoughts, as it’s going through a trying time and is suffering the hardships of war,” in her message for March 25 Independence Day.
The diaspora in Ukraine are “showing courage drawn from the love for their homeland, looking forward to the quickest possible end to the war and the beginning of a new life from the ashes of destruction,” she noted, the state-ru Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA said.
Sakellaropoulou said the Greek struggle for independence 200 years ago is a constant reminder “of the value of our nation’s unity and harmony which transcends our borders.”
She pointed out the idea for Greece’s struggle for independence from Ottoman rule began in the port city of Odessa, “while the revolution was sparked in the heroic city of Mariupol, where a ‘little Greece’ became prosperous on the Sea of Azov.”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said there was “full solidarity” with Ukraine has pulled back from that, however, ignoring Ukraine’s request to stop doing business with Russia while allowing Russian ships to dock in Greece and Greek ships to still go to Russia.
Greece, after initially providing some small arms and other defense gear for Ukraine’s military, said it wouldn’t sent anti-aircraft equipment and do no more to help the battle against Russia for now.