Greece officially condemned Russia’s escalation in Ukraine on Tuesday, calling the recognition of the two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent violates international law.
In a statement, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the illegal and unilateral recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk “is a clear violation of fundamental principles of international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the Minsk agreements.”
“We have repeatedly stressed that Greece is in favor of respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all states and condemns any decision that is contrary to these fundamental principles of international law.
“As part of its commitments to the European Union and NATO, Greece will consult and coordinate with its European partners and allies regarding the response to this decision,” the statement reads.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced late on Monday that he will chair an emergency meeting of Greece’s Governmental Council of Foreign Affairs & National Defense (KYSEA) on Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine crisis and its security and energy ramifications for Greece.
Russia orders troops into Ukraine’s breakaway regions
Greece’s condemnation comes as Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into two rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine, after recognizing them as independent states.
Russia said the troops would engage in “peacekeeping” in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics.” But the US said calling them peacekeepers was “nonsense,” and that Russia was creating a pretext for war.
The two regions are home to Russian-backed rebels who have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
World leaders condemn Russia
The US swiftly condemned Putin’s move, and President Joe Biden signed an executive order that prohibits new investment, trade and financing by Americans in the breakaway regions. The White House said the measures were separate to wider Western sanctions which are ready to go “should Russia further invade Ukraine.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia’s actions amounted to “a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine” that breaks international law. He said it was “a very ill omen and a very dark sign.”
The European Union pledged to “react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine.”
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected the suggestion that Russian troops would have a peacekeeping brief, telling reporters: “It’s unacceptable, it’s unprovoked, it’s unwarranted… some suggestion that they are peacekeeping is nonsense.”