Ukrainian Ambassador to Greece Sergii Shutenko released a statement responding to negative reactions from part of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Thursday communication with the Greek Parliament, which included a man of Greek origin declaring he belongs to the Azov Regiment and is defending Mariupol from Russian “Nazis.”
Shutenko denies that the Azov Regiment is a neo-Nazi paramilitary organization and says that it has been incorporated since into Ukraine’s National Guard under the strict control of the Interior Ministry, played a significant role in the city’s recapture from Russian forces in 2014 and is now defending the partly-occupied and heavily destroyed city.
The full statement is as follows:
For more than eight years, and especially since the start of Russia’s large-scale war against Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and our Armed Forces have been bravely defending the civilian population on our territory, and freedom and democracy in Europe.
The Russian propaganda machine targets the minds of free people. “It not only blurs reality, by distorting facts, but creates a frightening atmosphere of hatred and fear.
Today, Russian officials and propagandists deny the fact of aggression and the Russian military invasion of our country and continue to tell outrageous lies and cover up their war crimes and crimes against humanity, as the world has seen in Bucha.
In order to distract the West from the enormous humanitarian catastrophe caused by the invasion, especially in Mariupol, Russia is using a wide range of disinformation techniques and myths.
For many years, Russia has tried to “plant” in Greek minds the myth that the “Azov” Regiment is an independent paramilitary unit operating in Mariupol without discipline and obedience.
“We have stated on several occasions that in fact the Azov Voluntary Military Regiment was formed in 2014 in response to the Russian effort aimed at shattering the stability of the Donetsk region and its cities. It played an important role in the recapture of Mariupol in 2014 and was completely reformed and integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard under strict administration by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Since then, Mariupol has been enjoying peace and prosperity.
Since the Russian invasion, the Azov Regiment has played a key role in defending the civilian population in one of the toughest battles for Mariupol, which remains Ukrainian because of the Regiment’s efforts.
The video, which depicts ordinary Ukrainian citizens of Greek origin, two soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard, one of them from the “Azov” Regiment, shows their absolute will to defend their homeland and Mariupol’s civilian and has nothing to do with those Nazi acts that the Russians are committing on our land and against our people.