President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Thursday expressing her solidarity with the nation defending itself against the Russian invasion.
Sakellaropoulou, who is accompanied by the Minister of National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
“Greece will never recognize the illegal annexation of areas in Ukraine that Russia is trying to enforce,” she said.
“We will not forget the [war] crimes committed in Mariupol against its innocent and peaceful inhabitants, a city with a Greek name and with a significant population of Greek descent,” she underlined.
The Greek president also strongly condemned the “unacceptable Russian attacks aimed at destroying critical urban infrastructure in Ukraine ahead of the coming winter,” which constitute war crimes, as they target civilians. “Greece strongly supports the attribution of accountability to those responsible for these crimes,” she stressed.
Calling the talks with Sakellaropoulou “very important”, Zelensky noted that Ukraine is working with the Greek side to put an end to Russia’s criminal attack the soonest as possible so that Ukrainians can return to a normal life. “For this reason, we will develop collaboration in the defense, political, and humanitarian sectors,” he added.
During her tour of the country, the Greek president “saw a lot of what is going on in all of Ukraine today, not just at the front,” Zelensky said.
He thanked the Greek president for the first batch of BMP armored vehicles, and said the two presidents discussed Greece’s capacity to help Ukraine restore its territorial integrity.
Sakellaropoulou visits destroyed cities in Ukraine
Earlier, the Greek President visited several Ukrainian towns that have suffered from Russian bombardments, including Bucha, located northwest of Kyiv where a massacre of civilians took place in April.
Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on April 1, 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city. Photos showed corpses of civilians lined up with their hands bound behind their backs. The images were shot at point-blank range, which ostensibly provided proof that summary executions had taken place.
According to local authorities, 458 bodies have been recovered from the town, including nine children under the age of eighteen; among the victims, 419 people were killed by weapons and thirty-nine appeared to have died of natural causes, possibly related to the occupation.
Joe Biden had called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes following the killings of civilians in the city.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Kyiv in October and reaffirmed Athens’ support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
“We reiterate that Greece will continue to stand by Ukraine and the Greek Community in Ukraine,” Dendias said as he met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
In September, Greece agreed to send forty of its Soviet-built BMP-1 IFVs to Ukraine. Athens reached a deal with Germany according to which it will receive the same number of the more modern forty Marder IFVs from Germany.
Greece which has joined its NATO allies in supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion has already sent military equipment to Kyiv, including rockets, assault rifles, and anti-tank missiles.