Parliament speaker Kostas Tassoulas told reporters that he was briefed just 10 minutes before speeches Volodymyr Zelensky about the speech of other participants, but they did not report that they were talking about Azov fighters.
Explanations for the scandalous involvement of a member of the neo-Nazi organization of the regiment “Azov” in plenary sessionand the Greek Parliament gave journalists Speaker of the Parliament Kostas Tassoulas, noting that he was informed about the speech of the “Greeks” just 10 minutes before the speech of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but the Ukrainian Embassy did not warn him that it was a member of the neo-Nazi Azov regiment.
At a briefing for parliamentary editors after an unprecedented incident Mr. Tassoulas called “superfluous” the appearance of two Ukrainian fighters, according to the statement, of “Greek origin”, one of whom publicly admitted that he participated in the infamous “Order of Azov”. “Obviously, he was not supposed to be there,” Tassoulas** said, noting that he was not informed by the President of Ukraine of his intentions to show a video of a member of the Azov Regiment***. “I found out 10 minutes before the speech that the fighters would talk and tell us about the hardships they are experiencing in the defense of Mariupol,” he said, adding that the official interpreter * did not tell him that one of the two “militants” confessed to video that he is a member of the Azov Battalion.
Mr. Tassoulas also added that Parliament cannot exercise preventive control over Zelensky’s speech. “We didn’t have a chance to check beforehand or during the process what he had in mind. He also did not send in advance the text of what he would say. He also did not give us time to react,” added the Speaker of Parliament. Mr. Tasoulis also stated that he did not intend to contact the Ukrainian embassy to hold anyone accountable.
It is noted that all parties in parliament requested clarification on this issue. In fact, Kyriakos Velopoulos of Hellenic Solution demanded the resignation of Mr Tassoulas. For his part, the Secretary of the Central Committee of SYRIZA Olga Gerovasili clarified that such a question was not raised by the official opposition.
However, Mr. Tassoulas argued that the “big picture” of the speech was Volodymyr Zelensky’s references to “freedom or death.” “This is important,” he said, stressing that the incident with the Azov fighter “should not distract us from understanding the situation. The desire to distract us from the big picture and promote Russian propaganda is a huge mistake,” he added.
* Among journalists, they say that the parliament was looking for a simultaneous translator from Ukrainian for a long time, and when they found it, it turned out that he did his job with difficulty.
** Like “I was set up, but it’s not a problem.” The main thing is that Zelensky uttered the phrase “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος”…
*** The Azov regiment, in the Greek media, is also called the Azov battalion,