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Mitsotakis: NATO unified on backing Ukraine

Mitsotakis: NATO unified on backing Ukraine

NATO is “absolutely unified” in supporting Ukraine, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters on the sidelines of the alliance summit in Brussels Thursday.

Asked about the sanctions against Russian natural gas exports, Mitsotakis noted that “we must be very careful to ensure than any measures will not end up hurting European citizens more than they hurt Russia.”

“I believe that we must focus now on the fact that all alliance members will join in the sanctions,” Mitsotakis added.

The Greek prime minister said that “it is very important that, because of this crisis, many European Union members realized that Europe must expand its geopolitical footprint and increase defense spending.”

“Greece is a country that has long been spending over 2% of its GDP on defense. European strategic autonomy is entirely compatible with [NATO]. And I expect that this strong relationship will take on a specific shape at the Madrid summit, in June,” Mitsotakis noted. 

On sanctions, Mitsotakis said he believed the sanctions package is strong. “We must focus on all Alliance members taking part in sanctions, that there are no exceptions.”

“As far as Europe is concerned, what we must to is act the soonest possible to reduce our dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. And, of course, ensure that we will use Europe’s collective weight in the markets to achieve a reduction in natural gas prices. Because the actual problem we face now is is the combination of very high gas prices and very high electricity prices.”

“Greece has submitted very specific proposals [on this] because we must make sure our citizens, our businesses will not face disproportionate costs from the sanctions.”

Asked about the impact on the economy, Mitsotakis conceded that “growth will certainly be affected. And this is the price we will pay in standing up against aggression. No, I do not believe a recession is likely; but, I repeat, it is up to us, mainly the European countries, to think outside the box for solutions in order to put a cap on natural gas prices that at present are damaging for all Europe.”