Convoy with refugees from Mariupol moves to the border of Moldova

The operation to evacuate Greek citizens from the Mariupol region, called “Νόστος 3*”, continues. According to diplomatic sources, the Foreign Ministry, in a coordinated effort, took about a dozen Greek citizens out of the combat zone in Ukraine.

Consular offices in Mariupol and Odessa continue to operate as before, despite the intensification of hostilities around the city and within it.

As we reported previously, the evacuation began on the evening of March 2 and by 8 pm arrived in the city of Zaporozhye, located 300 km from Mariupol. How reports the Greek TV channel ΣΚΑΙ, a convoy of cars led by Ambassador Francesco Costelleno left Zaporozhye in the morning and moves north across the Dnieper (Dnepropetrovsk, 85 km from Zaporozhye), and then headed west towards the Moldovan border. Further through Romania, by plane to Athens and then to Rhodes, where people will be accommodated.

Greek TV correspondent open reports that the road is very difficult, as they want to bypass the zone controlled by the Russian troops, and along the way they often have to stop at checkpoints located on the way.

The most difficult moment, according to the Greek journalist, was the first 20 kilometers, when they drove past a Russian tank at the exit from Mariupol. Later, due to a blown-up bridge, they had to drive on dirt roads until they found a way to cross to the other side of the river. At the same time, according to the journalist, warning fire was opened at the first car. Finally, they drove onto the third road, from where they had already managed to get onto the highway leading to Zaporozhye.

On the way, the convoy will have to overcome many more difficulties, as the Ukrainian authorities, in anticipation of the Russian troops, mine and blow up bridges, and many roads have become dangerous for travel. The entire journey will be almost 1000 kilometers and will end, at best, by 11 pm.

It is reported that this operation was organized under extremely unfavorable circumstances (which were constantly changing) by the Consulate General of Mariupol, where Consul General Manolis Androulakis remained. It followed Operation Nostos-2 organized by the Consulate General of Odessa under the coordination of Consul General Dimitris Dokhtsis a few days ago.

There is also an operation “Nostos 1” on the evacuation of citizens of Greece and Cyprus from Kyiv, which takes place in close cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Cyprus.

In this context, the role of the envoy of Cyprus in Kyiv, Lina Themistocleous, is especially important. The General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Themistoklis Demiris, took over the overall coordination of operations.

The Consulates General of Mariupol and Odessa, as well as the crisis management department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are in constant contact with other Greek citizens who are still in Ukraine, including Greek sailors who are in Odessa, which is blockaded by the sea.

The vast majority of ethnic Greeks decided to stay in Ukraine

The Ambassador in Bucharest with a parallel accreditation in Moldova, Sofia Grammata, in coordination with the Greek community in Romania, provides ongoing assistance to the Greeks arriving in Moldova from Ukraine.

In this regard, the Foreign Ministry recently chartered a special flight for the transportation of citizens who arrived from Kyiv and Odessa by air from Bucharest.

Upon arrival at Athens airport, they were met by the Deputy Minister for Greeks Abroad, Andreas Katsaniotis, who had previously met the Nostos-1 and Nostos-2 groups.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has been in constant contact with the Greek authorities in Ukraine and Romania since the beginning of the Russian invasion, and expressed his gratitude to diplomats Costellenos, Dohtsi and Androulaki for the hard work they are doing under particularly difficult conditions.

*Nostos is a theme used in ancient Greek literature that includes an epic hero returning home by sea. In ancient Greek society, this was considered a high level of heroism or greatness for those who managed to return.

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