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With 7,000 Ukrainian Refugees So Far, Greece Says Can Take 30,000

ATHENS – Greece is prepared to take in some 30,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s so-far unstoppable invasion of Ukraine while the rest of the world watches, with some 7,000 arriving so far, New Democracy government officials said.

Those in Greece now came straight from Ukraine on buses and other vehicles as part of a massive evacuation that could see more than 2.3 million people leave their homeland to indiscriminate Russian bombing of civilian targets.

With Russian troops and forces reaching the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said that Greece will send buses or airplanes to Poland to help resettle more refugees, reported Kathimerini.

That came after an appeal from the government in Poland which is seeing waves of people arriving from the war-torn country as Russian President Vladimir Putin has so far been able to withstand sanctions and warn against intervention.

Mitarakis said that Greece would need assistance from the European Union if the numbers exceed 30,000 as the country is also holding some 42,000 from other countries, primarily Syria and Afghanistan, including 4,200 on detention camps on five islands near Turkey’s coast, from where they came.

He told SKAI TV while those from other countries will be detained until their asylum applications are processed, which can take two years or more, that Ukrainians – including ethnic Greeks – will be given a year’s residency permits and that many are staying with Ukrianians who live in Greece.

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, leader of the Orthodox Christian world, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said that Putin “has provoked the hatred of the whole world.”

“Mr. Putin should not have done this,” Vartholomaios said, according to a transcript of an interview with CNN Turk earlier, translated and quoted by the Washington Examiner.

“We are entering a new era of Cold War. We do not know what will happen next. I hope this Cold War period will last a short time. I hope World War III won’t break out,” said Vartholomaios, who is based in Istanbul.

He praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for “set (ting) a very good example for his people” in his staunch resistance of the Russian invasion, and blamed Putin for inflicting “a great injustice” on Ukraine.

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