Envoy denies reports of attacks on ethnic Greeks in Ukraine

A Greek diplomat on Friday sought to allay concerns about the fate of some 100,000 ethnic Greeks living in southeastern Ukraine as the crisis escalates in the former Soviet republic.

In comments made to the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency, Greece’s consul general in Mariupol, 60 kilometers from the Russian border, denied reports of attacks on ethnic Greeks. Dimitris Papandreou said the only incident so far had been an assault on a Ukrainian MP of Greek origin in Kiev’s Maidan square. “He was hit because of his party identity,” he said.

The subject of Ukraine also came up in Parliament on Friday as an opposition SYRIZA MP criticized the government during a debate on the ongoing mobilization of metro staff.

“[Prime Minister Antonis] Samaras may go down like [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych, but Greece will not go down like Ukraine,” said Costas Barkas, prompting a fierce reaction from conservative officials.