HomeNewsGreeceExplosions hit Odesa as Greece’s PM makes first visit to Ukraine

Explosions hit Odesa as Greece’s PM makes first visit to Ukraine

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On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared continued support for Ukraine in its quest for freedom following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Odesa.

In his first visit to the country since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Mitsotakis emphasised Greece’s commitment to stand alongside Ukraine, stating, “My presence here reflects the respect of the entire free world for your people and underlines Greece’s commitment to remain by your side.”

As a NATO member and a staunch ally of Ukraine’s aspirations to join the military alliance and the European Union, Greece has offered military assistance to Ukraine. Zelenskyy and Mitsotakis discussed strategies to enhance security in the Black Sea, focusing on the expansion of the security space. Zelenskyy emphasised the need for additional air defence measures.

Confirming Greece’s participation in a peace formula summit in Switzerland, Zelenskyy also shared Mitsotakis’ commitment to contributing to the reconstruction of Odesa. The city’s historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in January 2023. Mitsotakis, while meeting with representatives of the Greek diaspora, underscored Greece’s ongoing support for Ukraine within its capabilities and without compromising Greek defence.

During their visit, the two leaders toured a residential building in Odesa, the site of a Russian drone attack that claimed the lives of 12 people, including five children. As the leaders concluded their tour, a large explosion echoed through the war-torn southern city, serving as a stark reminder of the ongoing conflict. Mitsotakis characterised the blast as a “vivid reminder” of the war’s impact and emphasised the stark contrast between hearing about the conflict and experiencing it firsthand.

“We heard the sound of sirens and explosions that took place near us. We did not have time to get to a shelter. It is a very intense experience,” Mitsotakis said through a translator.

Zelenskyy noted that the explosion resulted in an unknown number of casualties, expressing frustration with the indiscriminate nature of the attacks. Russian officials made no immediate comment on the incident.

Mitsotakis’ unanticipated visit to Ukraine preceded his scheduled trip to Romania for a two-day conference of the European People’s Party.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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