NEWS

Zelenskyy to address Greek Parliament

Speech likely for next Wednesday or Thursday; two biggest opposition parties support invitation

Zelenskyy to address Greek Parliament

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the Greek Parliament via teleconference next, most likely Wednesday or Thursday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis extended the invitation to Zelenskyy on Friday during a phone call, the third they have had since Russia’s invasion a month ago. Zelenskyy, who has already made several such addresses, including to the US Congress and the parliaments of France, Germany, Italy and Japan, in an attempt to rally support to his embattled country, accepted.

Parliament Speaker Kostas Tassoulas has spoken with Ukraine’s Ambassador to Greece Sergii Shutenko and the two agreed that the virtual event will take place next week, with Wednesday or Thursday being the likeliest dates.

Zelenskyy also sent wishes to Mitsotakis on the occasion of Independence Day. The two also spoke about Odessa, another Ukrainian city, besides Mariupol, with Greek connections, that could soon come under direct Russian attack. It was in Odessa that the Filiki Etaireia (Society of Friends), the secret society that laid the groundwork for the 1821 uprising, was founded by three Greek expatriates in 1814.

Mitsotakis’ invitation is part of Greece’s clear condemnation of the invasion and support for Ukraine. Greece was among the first countries to send both humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, the latter in the form of ammunition, rifles – mostly a large batch seized from a ship ready to transport them to Libya – and missile launchers. It has also steadfastly supported calls for sanctions against Russia.

Both left-wing SYRIZA and socialist Movement for Change, the two biggest opposition parties, welcomed the invitation to Zelenskyy.

SYRIZA officials said the invitation was good news, adding that they have supported the Ukrainian people from the start.

“The invitation to President Zelenskyy to address the Parliament is a positive gesture of solidarity,” Giorgos Katrougalos, a foreign minister during the final months of SYRIZA’s 2015-19 government, tweeted. “Greece, as a country of peace and soft power, must play a leading role in diplomatic efforts for an immediate end to the war,” he added. 

The Greek Communist Party disapproved of the invitation of a “head of a reactionary government,” and blamed Russia and Ukraine equally for the war.