Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said he had sent a letter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague asking for an investigation into crimes against the ethnic Greek community committed in Mariupol and two villages in eastern Ukraine.
In an interview with the publication Kathimerini Dendias emphasized: “Greece will continue to raise the issue of Mariupol at all international venues and emphasize that the commission of war crimes must be thoroughly investigated. That is why I sent a letter to the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court with a request to investigate the crimes committed both in Mariupol and in the villages of Sartana and Volnovakha, where at the beginning of the war there were expatriate Greeks who were victims of air strikes.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized that “For Greece, protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance to the Greek community in Ukraine is a top priority, especially in Black Sea coastal cities such as Mariupol and Odessa, where Greeks have lived for centuries.” According to him, the evacuation will continue.
With regard to Greek-Russian relations and what some in Greece claim – the country sufficiently supported Ukraine. She should be more “cautious” towards Russia, reminding that “Greece maintained historical ties with Russia.” In response, Dendias said:
“Greece has always taken care of maintaining channels of communication with Russia, even when we belonged to different geopolitical camps. Both the Prime Minister and I have made efforts to restore and develop these relations in recent years. And to a large extent, we succeeded, thanks to frequent contacts at the political level. Greek society, like the rest of Europe, also has close cultural ties to the particularly rich Russian culture. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Mayakovsky, Tchaikovsky, Pushkin are an important part of the European cultural tradition.
As for whether we should be more “cautious” with regard to Russia, let me answer. Should Russia have avoided violating the principles on which the European security system is built and which it allegedly upheld for a long time?“.
Dendias defended this policy, saying: “Greece had no choice. It has done what the principles it serves, the principles of international law, the Charter of the United Nations dictate: respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states. Greece condemns any invasion as a starting point. We would be inconsistent if, while defending our positions, for example, on the Cyprus issue, we did not uphold the same principles in all cases. By its actions, Russia, unfortunately, left us no choice. The level of Greek-Russian relations is the result of the choice of the Russian government, not our country“.
Full interview on the website MFA