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Greek Consul in Mariupol returns to Greece after successful evacuation from Ukraine




Greece’s Consul General in Mariupol, Ukraine arrived at Athens International Airport on Sunday, following an evacuation operation from the besieged and heavily bombarded city.

Manolis Androulakis was greeted by his wife, 7-month-old son and his father, as well as Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Andreas Katsaniotis.

Speaking to media at the airport, Androulakis said “the real heroes are the people that have stayed in Ukraine and will try to build up their lives back from nothing.”

READ MORE: Russian shelling damages Consulate of Greece in Ukrainian city of Mariupol

Androulakis with Katsaniotis.

“I have been dealing with Russia for 20 years…what is happening is a tragedy both for the Ukrainian and the Russian people…” he said, whilst pleading for a ceasefire to evacuate civilians and protect lives.”

Androulakis, along with local staff from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and their families, were first evacuated from Mariupol on Thursday. The convoy first travelled westward to the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, before arriving in Moldova and now Greece.

READ MORE: Greek Mariupol Consul General reaches Zaporizhzhia amid evacuation operation.

Androulakis thanked the leadership and officials at the Ministry, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and the OSCE that made the “humanitarian convoy” trip possible.

Media conference at Athens Airport.

He also thanked the families, unknown to him, who put him up at their homes during his way out of the war-torn country.

Androulakis was the last EU diplomat who stayed behind in Mariupol to assist the evacuation of Greeks and ethnic Greeks.

Speaking at the airport, Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister welcomed Androulakis to Athens and thanked him for his service in Mariupol.

Greece offers to rebuild bombed maternity hospital in Ukraine:

This successful evacuation operation comes as Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Friday that Greece is ready to rebuild a maternity hospital destroyed last week by Russian shelling in Mariupol. 

READ MORE: Russian attack destroys maternity hospital in Mariupol as Greece ramps up evacuations.

“I want to express my abhorrence for what is happening in Ukraine and in Mariupol in particular, which has become a symbol of resistance. You know of our specific interest, as there are more than 100,000 Ukrainians of Greek decent living there,” Mitsotakis began during a meeting with the PM’s of Italy, Spain and Portugal.

“As a minimum show of support, once the hostilities are over, the Greek government will take on the reconstruction of the maternity hospital in Mariupol that was bombed.”

Photo: Twitter via Mstyslav Chernov.

In response, the Parliament of Ukraine thanked Greece on Friday for its pledge.

“Thank you for your support!” tweeted the Ukrainian parliament in its official account (Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine), including emojis of Greek and Ukrainian flags and a handshake.

READ MORE: Ukrainian President assured of Greece’s ‘full support’ during phone call with Greek PM.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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