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Politics

Tsipras: Sending Military Equipment to Ukraine Was “a Major Mistake”

ATHENS – The Russian invasion of Ukraine is “an extremely unfavourable development for humanity, for Europe,” main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance President Alexis Tsipras said in an interview on ANT1 television channel late on Thursday night, on the programme “Enopios Enopio”.

Regarding Greece’s stance, Tsipras noted that there must be a clear position opposing Russia’s violation of international law but he also criticised Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the decision to send defence rather than humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, thus converting Greece “from a country that traditionally becomes involved for peace, [to] a country that is getting involved in a war.”

“I believe that this is a major mistake and reckless on the part of the prime minister…I ask that we should be clearly in favour of the side defending itself but also ask that the recklessness stops,” he added.

He also accused the prime minister of making this decision without consulting with any of the opposition parties and said that Greece should retain its traditional foreign policy dogma, of a country that was a pillar of stability in the region and “part of the solution”.

Tsipras noted that it was dramatic to witness a nuclear power engaged in an open violation of international law and bloodshed in Europe, adding that it was hard to estimate whether the war will end soon but, even if that was the case, its consequences will be momentous.

“The world after February 24 is a different world. We woke up in a world that is once again bipolar, a world in which we will once again see a harsh cold war,” he said.

He expressed concern for the ethnic and expatriate Greeks in Ukraine, while predicting that the “other side” in the new global order will not be just Russia and that the geopolitical “chessboard” will shift further east “with terrifying consequences”. This will not be easy for Russia either, he added, because the dominant partner in such an alliance will be China, while “the only certain thing is that for Europe, this development will be exceedingly unfavourable, geopolitically and economically.”

“It is not possible to do anything but radically and categorically condemn this invasion, this violation of international law, in the face of this dramatic development for which the Russian Federation and President [Vladimir] Putin have the main responsibility,” Tsipras said.

Asked whether this might “whet the appetite” of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with respect to Greece, Tsipras said that while he has been uneasy for some time, this should not be easily assumed, while noting that, contrary to the pundits who saw Turkey as “isolated”, the latest developments had actually enhanced Turkey’s role in the region.

“Turkey is to a greater degree today a power to be reckoned with in the eyes of the western allies,” he said, adding that Erdogan will seek to exploit this by striving to maintain an attitude of “cunning neutrality”.

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