“Save Us”: Address of the President of the Federation of Greek Communities of Ukraine from a bomb shelter

Alexandra Protsenko-Pichadzhi, President of the Federation of Greek Communities of Ukraine, condemns the genocide and calls for help, citing specific facts, from the Mariupol asylum.

Ms. Protsenko’s appeal can be called, without exaggeration, a cry of agony, because it was sent from a shelter in Mariupol, where she is. In an emotional message to the Greeks and the international community, she condemns the “genocide of the Ukrainian people and the Greeks of Ukraine by the Russian Federation”, citing specific facts about the destruction of Greek villages and the killing of expatriates, writes skai with reference to ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ.

The president of the federation calls on the Greeks of the whole world to mobilize to prevent the inevitable disappearance of the Greek community in Ukraine. She asks the world community to seek the creation of a “green corridor” for the evacuation of Greeks from settlements “surrounded by the enemy, and the provision of humanitarian assistance.” Alexandra Protsenko-Pichadzhi writes:

“Dear brothers and sisters, compatriots! We appeal to all the Greeks of the world, and first of all to the Greeks living in Greece, so that they learn the truth from a direct source. But not the truth that you hear from Russian propaganda, covered up with the name “liberation movement of the Russian Federation”, but the truth as it is, that is, the genocide of the Ukrainian people, the genocide of the Greeks of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. This is open and obvious terrorism.

Today, Ukraine and the Greeks of Ukraine are going through very difficult times. Russia’s armed attack on Ukraine, which began in 2014 and escalated on February 24, 2022, threatens the unique culture of the Azov Greeks and the Urum and Rumi languages. 77.5 thousand Greek emigrants (Rumi and Urum) live in the Donetsk region. As a result of hostilities and temporary occupation of certain territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, since 2014, 13 settlements of the Donetsk region, founded and settled by the Azov Greeks, have been occupied: Starolaspa, Starobeshevo, Rozdol, Novolaspa and others.

After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, hostilities continue around the capital of the Greeks of the Sea of ​​Azov region, Mariupol, as well as in Volnovakha, Sartan, the villages of Bugas, Granitne, Staromlinovka. Now these settlements, where more than 15,000 Greek emigrants live, are surrounded by the enemy without the possibility of evacuation.

Mariupol has been experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe for a week now. The city is surrounded by Russian troops, it is without water, electricity, heating and communications. Efforts to evacuate civilians, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance, were thwarted by the Russian side. On March 8, a six-year-old girl was found who, unlike her mother, survived the bombing of her home by Russian troops, but died of dehydration under the rubble.

On March 9, the Russian armed forces carried out strikes maternity hospital and children’s hospital in Mariupol, 17 people were injured, information about the dead is being specified. These are just the latest examples of the humanitarian catastrophe that has engulfed Mariupol and its residents of different nationalities.

The city of Sartana, home to more than 10,000 Greeks, with a unique museum of Greek history and ethnography in the Sea of ​​Azov, was heavily damaged by Russian troops, resulting in civilian injuries. The hospital and 90% of residential buildings were destroyed. Local residents woke up at 3:30 am on February 27, 2022 from a powerful rocket attack. Within an hour, 8 missiles were fired. Local residents ran out of their houses in their underwear and pajamas and tried to hide in basements. Those who dared to pass through the field were blown up by mines.

The head of the Greek association of Sartana, Natalia Papakitsa, thank God, took the children to Mariupol on 2 buses. But now neither they nor other residents of Mariupol have the opportunity to leave the city. Information about the dead and injured is being specified.

The city of Volnovakha, with a population of more than 21,000 inhabitants (of which 15,000 are Rumi Greeks), is 95% destroyed. More than 505 people (women, children, pensioners, invalids) were taken out: as of 05.03 – 244 people, as of 06.03 – 261 people.

The village of Granite, where more than 3,600 Urum Greeks live, is 95% destroyed. Bugas (1400 Rumi Greeks) is 70% destroyed. Chermalik (1900 Greek urums) is 70% destroyed. Starognatovka (2100 ethnic Greeks: Urum, Rumi) is 60% destroyed. Staromlinovka (2400 Greek urums) is 90% destroyed.

The evacuation of residents is impossible, since these villages are surrounded by the enemy and are subjected to constant bombing and air raids by the Russian Federation. The Russian side is not negotiating a “green corridor” (for the evacuation of residents and the organization of humanitarian aid).

An armed attack by Russia on Ukraine can lead to a natural disaster for the Greeks of Azov and, consequently, the destruction of a unique culture with its own languages. We ask and call on the entire world community, the Greeks of the whole world, to respond. We ask for your help in organizing a “green corridor” for the evacuation of the Greeks from the settlements surrounded by the enemy and the provision of humanitarian assistance.

We believe that your support will help save the Greeks of Ukraine and the Ukrainians surrounded by the enemy, will give us all the strength to protect the independence, territorial integrity of Ukraine and victory.

Long live Ukraine! Long live Greece!

Sincerely your Greeks of Ukraine.

As our publication previously reported, even before the invasion, the Greek community was at the epicenter of events: between the fire of the pro-Russian separatists, the military of the regular army of Ukraine and the Russian forces, ready to “pull the trigger” after the recognition of the autonomy of the LNR and DNR. There is a constant fear in the Greek community that a large-scale conflict could break out at any moment. People look for glimmers of hope and share their concerns by meeting in the community and attending Orthodox churches. They say that those who wanted to leave have left. And there are many of them: seeing the tanks at the ready, they are looking for ways to leave.

Now, explaining what is happening in Mariupol, there are two opposite versions.. The Russian side is commenting on what is happening, presenting its own side. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, states: “A grave humanitarian situation has developed in Mariupol. Hundreds of thousands of people, including foreigners, are forcibly held by nationalists who, threatening physical violence, stop any attempts to leave the city.”

In turn, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, in his video message on Sunday, accuses the Russians of not allowing humanitarian aid to be delivered to the besieged Mariupol:

“We have already evacuated almost 125,000 people to a safe territory along humanitarian corridors. The main task today is Mariupol. Our humanitarian aid convoy is a two-hour drive from Mariupol. Only 80 km are left. We are doing everything to resist the invaders, who are blocking even the Orthodox priests accompanying this help: food, water and medicines. Ukraine sent 100 tons of the most necessary to its citizens.”

Over the past 24 hours, Mariupol has been especially hard hit, fighting unfolded within the city. Among the civilians who could not get out with the help of humanitarian corridors, there are Greeks, as well as Greek consul Manolis Androulakis, who is in shelter with the OSCE staff.

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