NEWS

Greek convoy makes it out of Mariupol 

Greek convoy makes it out of Mariupol 

A convoy of 21 vehicles transported 82 Greeks over a route, often through crossfire, from the war zone of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, which is under siege by Russian forces, to Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday. They are expected to cross into Moldova. 

The mission, which consisted of journalists, staff of the Consulate General of Mariupol and other Greek citizens, arrived at the city on the Dnieper River last night. 

Although the distance between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia is no more than 240 kilometers, the convoy of vehicles moved Wednesday at an extremely slow pace through areas controlled by Ukrainian and Russian forces.

The convoy’s course until late last night also indicates the fluctuating situation on the battlefield. Indicatively, there were extremely strictly controls within a zone stretching for between 70 and 80 kilometers.

Following a decision by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, it was first decided that a diplomat (Ambassador Fragiskos Kostellenos) would head the evacuation mission, and then return to Mariupol where Consul General Manolis Androulakis remains.

This was the clear choice of Athens in order to ensure services to any member of the Greek community that requests them. 

The wider area of ​​Mariupol is home to about 120,000 members of the ethnic Greek community, dating back to the 18th century. At least 10 have been confirmed dead as a result of Russian bombing and airstrikes. 

Expressing his wish for a safe conclusion of the mission, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt referred to the long-standing Greek identity of Mariupol, while also lauding Greece’s stance, both in terms of assistance to Ukraine and in terms of its choice to participate in the sanctions. 

“Greece has been and will remain a critical NATO ally in reinforcing the Alliance’s southeastern flank,” said Pyatt.