Dendias’ “mistake” in Ukraine – What worries Athens

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Ukraine on January 31, 2022,

In the wake of Nikos Dendias’ visit to Ukraine, Athens declared that it wants to play a role in the region. How feasible is it?

In the midst of a significant crisis in Russia-West relations over Ukraine, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited the Greek community in the country with a clear message of de-escalation.

“Greece, for reasons of principle, has always been a supporter of the independence and territorial integrity of all states, in accordance with the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations,” the foreign minister said during his visit.

“I want to express the hope that the tensions that exists at the moment will not continue, that things will return to calm and de-escalate,” he added.

According to diplomatic sources, Greece’s role in the region will be compromised.

However, despite the fact that the Greek side wants relations with Russia in a wide range of sectors, it does not forget its commitments to the United States.

That is why, according to the same sources, in the event of an armed crisis in Ukraine, the US military will use forces located in Souda and Alexandroupoli, and Greece will not prevent this.

As analysts have occasionally argued, this would complicate Greek-Russian relations as well.

READ MORE: Kremlin spox Peskov: Greek-Russian relations are 6/10, Turkish-Russian relations are 7/10.

At the top of the interest of Athens in Ukraine is the protection of Greeks in the region in case of war.

But what also worries Athens is Turkey’s role in the region, which is constantly being upgraded as it supplies Kiev’s forces with unmanned aircraft.

The “mistake” of Dendias is analysed by a representative of the Save Donbass organisation, Andreas Zafeiris, who has been in the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donbass to provide aid.

“Indeed, the head of Greek diplomacy was in an area where the Greek presence is very large,” he said.

Due to their history and geography, the Greeks found themselves in the region, in the now self-proclaimed Democratic Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and in the Crimea.

“However, there is no reason for a foreign minister to go to a war-torn and militarised zone. It was not necessary to identify with the Ukrainians,” he said.

“What they avoided showing in Greek diplomacy is that in Ukraine, the Greek element is being suppressed. Anything related to a non-Ukrainian element is in a very difficult situation. It does not concern only the Greeks or the Russian speakers,” added Zafeiris.

READ MORE: Kiev does not consider Greeks to be indigenous to the country.

It is worth remembering that in the European summer of 2021, Ukrainian law excluded the Greeks from the indigenous peoples of the region, despite their long history in the territories.

“The People’s Republics, Greeks enjoy full respect for their language and cultural identity, while holding a prominent position in public life, with positions and ministerial positions,” Zafeiris said, adding: “Dendias had to meet them.”

READ MORE: Why the Greek army should not go to Ukraine: The lesson of history.