The Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the annexation of four Ukrainian territories, as announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony in Moscow on Friday.
“Greece condemns the decision to annex Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian military forces (Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson) by the Russian Federation,” a ministry statement read.
“This decision is illegal, as it is a flagrant violation of international law, and invalid,” the statement continued.
“Greece does not recognize it.”
The ministry said Greece continues to support – as a basic principle – the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and all states.
“In addition, Greece will continue to work towards the delivery of justice, and the protection of the rights of the Greek community in Ukraine, which has been particularly tested in recent months.”
Earlier, Putin told a crowd of officials in a ceremony in an ornate hall in Moscow that “pPeople living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots forever.”
“We will defend our land with all our strength and all our means,” he said, calling on “the Kyiv regime to immediately cease hostilities and return to the negotiation table”.
Putin’s proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine – the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two – has been firmly rejected by Western countries and even many of Russia’s close allies. UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres called it an illegal violation of the UN charter.
Russia’s annexation of the Russian-occupied areas was being carried out after what the West denounced as phoney referendums at gunpoint.
It comes as Russian forces have faced setbacks on the battlefield, with one of the worst so far looming even as Putin spoke. Pro-Russian officials acknowledged that Russian troops were on the verge of encirclement in Lyman, their main garrison in the north of Donetsk province.
Defeat there could open the way for Ukraine to recapture swathes of the territory that Putin has now declared to be part of Russia. [Ekathimerini, Reuters]