ATHENS – Escaping from Russia’s siege of Mariupol and other cities during the invasion of Ukraine, members of Greece’s diplomatic mission in a city with some 150,000 ethnic Greeks, deserve medals for bravery, said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
He spoke after a meeting in the Greek capital with Consul-General Manolis Androulakis, who survived days of bombing as the city was blown apart around him and was the last European Union diplomat to get out.
“After communicating with the Prime Minister, I will be recommending that they be given a medal, which will happen in due course,” Dendias told reporters, also referring to Greek Ambassador to Kyiv Frangiskos Kostelenos, and the Consul-General in Odessa Dimitris Dochtsis, reported Kathimerini.
He said that Androulakis should especially be singled out because Mariup0l was perhaps the hardest hit city and the entire population is under threat from relentless Russian attacks on civilian targerts.
“He is the last diplomat to have left Mariupol under extremely difficult conditions. His actions honored Greece, the ministry and the diplomatic corps, and he deserves warm congratulations,” Dendias said.
“Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine continues with unabating intensity. The Greek government’s priority is to protect the ethnic Greek community and the civilian population,” Dendias added, with no report he had reached out to Russian Foreign Minister Sergi Lavrov to intervene.
He also announced that the ministry has sent official notices to both the Ukrainian and Russian sides informing them of an upcoming humanitarian aid mission from Greece to Mariupol, via Romania, although Russian forces were blocking anyone from getting out.
“I plan to escort this assistance myself, in coordination with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, with whom we are already in contact,” Dendias said.