Greece considers Russia an integral and key element of the European security architecture, says Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
On Saturday, the Greek Foreign Minister published an interview with Nea, in which he advocates de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine, maintaining channels of communication with all interested parties, including with Russia.
During the recent visit to Ukraine Nikos Dendias visited Mariupol and Sartan. He visited a special monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), met with the leadership of the Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine, with the Mayor of Mariupol, as well as with leaders and activists of Greek societies in Ukraine, and talked with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. As the head of the Greek Foreign Ministry noted, “Greece is showing particular interest in the issues of Ukraine, due to the significant number of Greek emigrants in the wider area of Mariupol”:
From the very beginning we made clear our position on all fronts. And I once again told my Ukrainian colleague Dmitry Kuleba that we support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states in accordance with the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. I note that my Ukrainian colleague asked me to convey a signal about the need for de-escalation to the Russian side, with whom, as you know, we maintain frequent contacts. Greece stands for the de-escalation of tensions in the region, while maintaining channels of communication with all interested parties. We view Russia as a key and integral part of the European security architecture and therefore we insist that the channels of communication remain open. It’s not about “maintaining balance”. It is known to which alliance we belong. It is about the important choice made to engage in dialogue with everyone and always on the basis of international law.
When asked by the publication about his conclusions after his visit to Mariupol and Sartana, the Foreign Minister replied that the Greek presence in the Black Sea region has a long history:
“Currently, approximately 120,000 ethnic Greeks live in Mariupol, in the villages and towns around it. During my recent visit, I had the opportunity to meet and communicate with representatives of the Greek communities, as well as to assure them of interest in them from the side of the Motherland and the Greek government Let me remind you that in July 2021 I visited Odessa, a city with a long-standing Greek presence, which also occupies an important place in the history of our country.As for Mariupol and its surrounding areas, the issue of security at this stage may be paramount.Let’s not forget that these communities are only a few kilometers away from the places of tension, and in 2014 there were victims of the fighting, whose memory I honored during my stay there.”
The Minister noted that the Greeks living there face the problems of everyday life, including health care:
The Greek government will support them. The first step in this direction is to strengthen the Consulate General [Греции] in Mariupol. For us, these communities and others like them on the other side of the border in southern Russia remain living islands of Hellenism, as well as important bridges of culture and connection with the region and its peoples.