A Greek convoy of approximately 30 vehicles evacuating dozens of Greek expatriates, diplomats and journalists from Mariupol, the Greek-founded city in southeastern Ukraine,reached safety on Friday, according to the Foreign Ministry of Greece.
Mariupol is under under siege by Russian forces with residents having no water, electricity or functioning sewage facilities,in an attempt to force the city to surrender.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias announced the arrival of the convoy in a Tweet on Friday.
Greek convoy took three days to get to safety
Dendias said in a tweet that the mission, which was dubbed “Nostos 3,” is now completed.
“The motorcade, coordinated by Ambassador Francis Kostellenos, crossed the Ukrainian-Moldovan border, where a delegation of our Embassy in Bucharest was waiting for them. Operation # Nostos3 was successfully completed. Congratulations to those who contributed to the happy outcome,” he Tweeted.
The overwhelming majority of ethnic Greeks have elected to stay back in Mariupol despite the invitation of the Greek government to be brought to Greece.
The diplomatic convoy, which was coordinated by Ambassador Fragiskos Kostellenos, left Mariupol three days ago, and traveled under what the Foreign Ministry said were “extremely difficult conditions.”
Η αυτοκινητοπομπή υπό τον συντονισμό του Πρέσβη Φραγκίσκου Κωστελλένου πέρασε τα σύνορα Ουκρανίας-Μολδαβίας όπου τους περίμενε κλιμάκιο της Πρεσβείας μας στο Βουκουρέστι. Η επιχείρηση #Νόστος3 ολοκληρώθηκε επιτυχώς. Συγχαρητήρια σε όσους συνέβαλαν στην αίσια έκβαση.
— Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) March 4, 2022
The convoy initially consisted of 21 vehicles and 82 people but additional vehicles were added on the way as they traveled to the Moldovan border.
On the Moldovan side, the convoy members were met by a team from the Greek Embassy in Bucharest, headed by Ambassador Sofia Grammata.
A statement from the Foreign Minstry said that that Dendias, “on behalf of the government, expressed his gratitude to those who contributed to the successful outcome of the operation both on the ground and in Athens, under the coordination of Secretary General Themistoklis Demiris.
“It is noted that, until further notice, the Consuls General in Mariupol, Manolis Androulakis, and in Odessa, Dimitris Dochtsis, continue to perform their work under particularly adverse conditions.”
The situation in Mariupol is extremely dire, with a complete lack of water, electricity, and other necessities as the Russians try to break the spirit of the city of 400,000. The mayor of the city issued an urgent appeal to the outside world on Friday, saying “we lack water and heating and food. We are being destroyed.”
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv is attempting to get help to the besieged port city on the Sea of Azov, which was founded by Greeks in the 1800s.