Greece, the birthplace of democracy, backs EU sanctions against Russia after its unlawful invasion of Ukraine and stands ready to host Ukraine refugees, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Parliament on Tuesday.
“Greece was always on the right side of history and we are doing the same today. For Greece there are no dilemmas, we are on the side of Ukraine, freedom and democracy,” he said.
The Russian president, “through the use of force, is questioning the territorial integrity of a country with which Russia has close ties, causing deaths – including those of Greeks in Mariupol – and forcing hundreds of thousands of citizens into migration,” he added.
“This is a violent return to the era of hegemony. In a place where the Holocaust took on very severe dimensions and in a place where Ukrainians and Russians united fought the Nazis,” Mitsotakis underlined, noting that Russia’s pretext of supposedly “de-nazifying” Ukraine is tenuous.
Russia aims to “change security architecture” with Ukraine invasion
“This is an irrational and unhistorical invasion. The Russian invasion is aimed at forcibly changing the security architecture in Europe,” Greece’s PM said, adding that “the Russian threats against Sweden and Finland speak for themselves.
“The West is called to be re-baptized. When the Russian provocation hit the core of the global geopolitical balance, delays in the West were overcome within days … The effects of Western sanctions are already visible. The Russian economy is being crushed.
“The European Union was born out of the ashes of World War II. It responded with the largest package of sanctions it has ever launched. The EU’s actions awaken the world’s public opinion, they are the intangible force of democracy,” he said.
“Greece on the right side of history”
“The Greek stance is a result of our historical experience and global balances,” the Prime Minister stated, adding:
“We have always been on the right side of history and that is what we are doing now. We are also part of the West and we promote international legitimacy. We live with the issue of Cyprus and we receive threats to our islands. We can not stand by indifferently before authoritarian leaders who want to redesign the borders.”
“There is no room for equal distances here. Either you are with peace and international law, or you are against them,” Mitsotakis said.
Mitsotakis told lawmakers that the European Union must also support countries and businesses and shield them from a further jump in energy costs.
“We cannot rule out attempts by Russia to blackmail. We all realize this … will disrupt global supplies and probably trigger a further rise in (energy) prices,” he said. “But we all agree it is the one-off price European people will pay for defending the values which are the foundations of our continent.”
Greece has spent more than 2 billion euros since September in power bill subsidies for households, businesses and farmers to mitigate the impact of record gas prices. Mitsotakis said the government’s assistance will continue until the energy crisis is seen off.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine takes Europe back to dark times, says Tsipras
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine plunges a European country into the darkness of war, into blood and destruction, and takes Europe and all of humanity back to dark and dangerous times,” stated main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras in parliament on Tuesday.
Tsipras noted that the situation called for “national prudence, humanitarian sensitivity, political honesty and determination.”
He underlined that all sides have a duty to unequivocally condemn Russia’s invasion, the violation of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and the “unacceptable revisionist rationale” on which it was based, as well as to express their full solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people, while extending the deepest condolences to the families of the Greeks in the Mariupol area who were killed during the Russian invasion.
“We have an obligation to make it absolutely clear that the results of President Putin’s actions harm and will continue to harm not just humanity but also the Russian people and their interests,” he added.
Tsipras also noted that “the international community and especially the EU must support the people of Ukraine and use all the available diplomatic means in order for the attack to end immediately, for the Russian forces to withdraw and for a reliable path of diplomacy and peace to open. The sanctions should be a tool for peace and not a tool for the continuation of the conflict using other means,” he said.