A video produced by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), with the support of the Embassy of Canada to Greece, records the long history of Greek communities in Ukraine and the tragic consequences that the ongoing war has brought upon them.
The video was released on Friday, February 24, on the sad first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Besides tracing the Greek communities of Ukraine, it documents the destruction of Mariupol, and honours the resistance of the Ukrainian people.
“We stand with Ukraine in their hour of need. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be ensured,” commented Canadian Ambassador Anna-Karine Asselin. “The war has had a devastating impact on the Greek speaking communities in Ukraine, and it is crucial that we raise awareness of their plight.”
Greek communities in Ukraine heavily affected
The Greeks have been present in the region without interruption for 27 centuries, ELIAMEP explains in the video’s description.
“Ukraine’s Greek communities have been embroiled in war since 2014, when separatists seized part of the Donbas region. Eight years later, no one was prepared for the ferocity of the assault Russia unleashed on Ukraine,” it adds.
100,000 citizens of Greek origin lived in Mariupol and the surrounding villages, 5,000 in Odessa, and a few thousand more were scattered throughout the country when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started in late February 2022, according to their data.
Since then, 1,000 have moved to Greece but most of them are still there, despite the hard and dangerous conditions, the Embassy of Canada to Greece says in a Facebook post.
Dozens of Greek buildings, churches, schools, monuments and cultural centers of Greek heritage, established in Mariupol, have been destroyed during the war, it adds.
“Mariupol, the city of the Virgin Mary, has almost been wiped off the map. Some of the Greeks in the area have managed to leave. A number have moved elsewhere within Ukraine. Others have fled to European countries, with a thousand or so washing up in Greece,” ELIAMEP concludes.