Manolis Androulakis, Greece’s consul in Mariupol, Ukraine, arrived at Athens International Airport on Sunday, following a long trip by car and plane from the besieged and heavily bombarded city.
He was greeted by his wife, 7-month-old son and his father, as well as an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The real heroes are the people that have stayed in Ukraine and will try to build up their lives back from nothing,” he told media upon his arrival.
Androulakis thanked the leadership and officials at the Ministry, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that made the “humanitarian convoy” trip possible. He also thanked the families, unknown to him, who put him up at their homes during his way out of the war-torn country.
“I have been dealing with Russia for 20 years…what is happening is a tragedy both for the Ukrainian and the Russian people…At this moment, non-combatants are being struck, blindly and without restraint…They are at a standstill militarily and, as long as this is happening, unarmed civilians are going to be hit, Androulakis added, pleading for a ceasefire to evacuate civilians and protect lives.
“Within 24 hours, everything [in Mariupol] was hit, all infrastructure was lost,” Androulakis said, adding that the many ethnic Greeks living in the city are suffering.