Greece’s main opposition SYRIZA reacted on Thursday to the inclusion of a Ukrainian man who said he was fighting with the far-right Azov Battalion during an address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Greek Parliament via teleconference.
“Today we listened with respect and solidarity to the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Mr Zelensky, who resists the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to whom we express our support,” said Olga Gerovasili, SYRIZA’s parliamentary group secretary.
“Beyond that, however, it is unacceptable that today, together with President Zelenskyy, a member of the Azov Battalion also addressed the Greek Parliament,” she said, adding that her party has requested explanations from Parliament Speaker Kostas Tassoulas and whether he was aware of the fighter’s presence.
“Because I think that was a big mistake,” she added.
The fighter in question appeared after the first part of Zelenskyy’s address, who appealed to Athens for support, citing the two countries’ historic links. The man identified himself as Michael, an ethnic Greek fighting in Mariupol.
“My grandfather fought in World War II against the Nazis. He was injured three times. I was born in Mariupol and I take part in the defense of the city from the Russian Nazis. I will not talk about the difficulties we have in defense, participating in the Ukrainian defense through the Azov Battalion. This is my debt to my city, my debt as a man and I have to talk about the catastrophic conditions in which Greek Mariupol finds itself,” he told Parliament.
His speech was followed by a short testimonial from another Ukrainian-Greek who is fighting in Odessa.