Ukrainians who live in Greece protest outside the Russian Consulate in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
ATHENS – Historically close relations with Russia were put on the backburnber by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as he leveled shots at Russia for the invasion of Ukraine ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
“As a matter of principle, Greece respects the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all countries. It therefore unequivocally condemns revisionist actions that run counter to these values,” he said.
That came, said Kathimerini, aat an emergency meeting of the country’s top decision-making body on foreign affairs and defense matters, KYSEA, which lamented “the brutal violence from which, unfortunately, many innocent people will lose their lives.”
Mitsotakis said that Greece will work with the European Union – which said there would be sanctions – and with NATO for a response that will be “proportional to the unprecedented Russian provocation,” with no explanatio what that would mean.
He said Greece was also anxious about the fate of ethnic Greeks who live mostly in the area of Mariupol although the United States has been warning for weeks about the coming invasion.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine forces the world community to face its responsibilities. Because in the Ukrainian crisis many things are being tested: The limits of international law, the validity of the Treaties but also the very right of states to live freely,” he said.
“The world community has the opportunity to resist the power of weapons and the questioning of borders and international treaties,” he said, adding that what’s needed is “a substantial European strategic autonomy.”
The EU has no military force and is limited to sanctions, similar to those put on Turkey for drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters but those were soft and exempted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and any government officials.
The EU – and Greece – also rely on Russian gas and there was no word on whether the United States would again oppose the NordStream 2 pipeline project from Russia to Germany and reverse itself yet again.
FM: Greece Unequivocally Condemns the Russian Attack on Ukraine
Greece unequivocally condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine, which is a blatant violation of international law and global values, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday, adding that it also undermines European peace and security.
“The protection of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all states is a fundamental principle for Greece,” the announcement said, stressing that Greece will always condemn any violation of these basic principles as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. “We call on the Russian side to immediately end the hostilities, which, in addition to their other serious consequences, endanger the lives of civilians, including the Greek community living in Ukraine,” it said.
The foreign ministry expressed its solidarity with Ukraine and stressed that “we will continue to stand by the Greek community in Ukraine in these difficult times.”
“We are in constant coordination with our European partners and NATO allies on the response to the violation of international law,” the statement said.
“The Greek authorities in Ukraine (embassies in Kiev, Consulates General in Mariupol and Odessa) are in constant contact with Greek citizens and holders of Special Expatriate Identity Cards in order to provide them with all possible assistance,” it concluded.
Mitsotakis: Greece Respects the Territorial Integrity, Sovereignty and Independence of All Countries
“Greece, as a matter of principle, respects the territorial integrity, the sovereignty and the independence of all countries. Consequently, it unequivocally condemns revisionist actions that are contrary to these values and furthermore it condemns brutal violence, from which many innocent people will, unfortunately, lose their lives. So, as member of both the European Union and NATO, we coordinate with our partners so that our reaction is not only joint but also commensurate with the unprecedented Russian provocativeness,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement at the start of an emergency meeting of Greece’s Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), held at the Maximos Mansion on Thursday.
“We are, of course, also keeping our gaze firmly fixed on the Greek community in the area, especially those in the Mariupol zone,” the premier added.
Mitsotakis noted that “The Russian attack on Ukraine brings…the global community face to face with its responsibility, as the Ukraine crisis tests a great many things: the limits of international Law, the validity of treaties and the right of countries to live in freedom. Similarly, many things are under threat, starting with geopolitical stability in Europe and the international energy balance.”
The prime minister noted that the goverment is adapting its policies to the new facts as they are arise. “At a national level we have already ensured energy adequacy and we are working on scenarios that will concern the absorption, as much as possible, of the increase in energy rates, as long as these last,” he added.
Finally, he said that historical revisionism using the force of arms must find all democratic countries of the planet opposed to it. “On this front, the responsibility of the governments, peoples and the European family are now being judged,” he said.
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