“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s decision is a clear violation of the UN Charter and the rules for settling interstate disputes by peaceful means,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday in parliament.
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.
“This is an irrational and unhistorical invasion. The Russian invasion is aimed at forcibly changing the security architecture in Europe,” he 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 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.
“To those who wonder if the specific sanctions are enough to curb Moscow’s aggression, I answer that it is a huge blow,” he stated and added: “It is the largest package of sanctions adopted by the EU. In the short term, it shakes Russia’s geopolitical and economic position while mobilising world public opinion, even within Russia. The international blockade can soon trigger an internal reflection.”
“On energy issues, blackmail attempts on the part of Russia cannot be ruled out. Such a prospect will probably cause temporary price spikes. We agreed that this will be the temporary cost,” he said and added: “We have ways to react both nationally and at a European level. At a national level, we have already given 2 billion euros in grants, and this policy will continue, especially to the most vulnerable groups, until this crisis is over. The gas companies have already [taken action to ensure] sufficient Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Such a problem requires a pan-European solution, joint procurement, storage and the subsidising of energy in Europe. Following the Greek proposal, the Commission will discuss the creation of a common fund. Europe has an obligation to focus all its forces on this area. The long-term solution is to quickly become independent of Russian gas. The country’s goal is to quickly become autonomous by utilising wind and solar energy, but also to become a regional and international energy transfer hub to Europe,” Mitsotakis said.
“We will build a second LNG terminal with private funds in Alexandroupolis,” the prime minister underlined.
“I asked for today’s debate so that the national legislature can send a message of unity,” Misotakis said, concluding his speech in parliament.
“Greece must give its own answer. Our brothers have been living in Ukraine for 2,000 years. At the same time, our explicit warning is that we will allow no imitator of revisionism to operate in our area. End of story. As for Russia, it must immediately stop the war and put itself among the countries that look to the future. The current crisis can be an opportunity for the EU to take a step forward and align its economic development with its strategic priorities,” Mitsotakis added.
Mitsotakis: Greece has additional reasons to support Ukraine
Responding to criticism from the opposition parties over the government’s decision to send defence supplies to Ukraine, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday noted that Greece had more reasons than most to support Ukraine, in his rejoinder during the debate on the Ukraine invasion held in parliament.
He also noted that there was a European decision to send arms that were binding for all member states, apart from those with established neutrality.
“We have additional reasons than, let’s say Portugal, to support Ukraine by sending defence supplies. We will be able to ask for support if we need something similar,” Mitsotakis stressed, noting that a “reliable ally who believes in the value of alliances has an obligation to be able to discern and read the geopolitical field and the interests of the country.”
The prime minister also denied having “shut the door to dialogue with Turkey,” saying he was open to the prospects of a meeting with the Turkish president.
“We come with faith in the power of our arguments and the additional precedent of how important alliances are. We have all realised that revisionism in action can have a huge cost,” he added.
“In Greece’s rich history, there have been more than a few times when decisions of national importance had to be made. Every time the country has adopted a clear position with its natural allies it has gained,” Mitsotakis said, adding that “the decision to send military equipment clearly signals where we belong and … and what is right in politics and international relations.”
Concluding, the Greek premier said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a blatant violation of International Law. Any delay or ambivalence would be to the detriment of the country’s national interests, he added.
“I hold on to the agreement of the three largest opposition parties to the condemnation of the Russian invasion, the correctness of the sanctions and I would ask main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to re-evaluate his position on defence spending. Investing in defence is a necessity and an essential prerequisite for the country to be free and for the prosperity of the Greek people,” Mitsotakis said.