Economist Thrasos Eftychidis, who has been living and working in the former Soviet Union for the last 28 years, expressed enormous concern for the large Greek communities of the wider Mariupol area.
According to him, Mariupol is defended by the hard-line Ukrainian Azov Battalion, with which the Russians are unable to negotiate.
He said that the Azov battalion are currently mining building blocks in Mariupol, adding that if battalion members choose to fight, millions of dead can not be ruled out.
“Things are very difficult for the Greeks in the area,” he told Ethnos. “The Russian-speaking separatists of the eastern provinces took control of four other Greek villages.”
“At the moment the road to Mariupol is open. I understand that the Ukrainians have chosen to fortify themselves in the cities,” Efthycidis continued.
“What I do not understand is why they do not allow civilians to leave them,” the economist questioned.
Eftychidis also spoke with a senior Ukrainian, who assured him that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in Kiev.
“From our conversation with a man I have known for many years, I realised that the morale of Ukrainians is very high,” Eftychidis said.
“Also, while before the invasion Zelensky did not have very high popularity among the people of the country, today he enjoys the trust of almost all Ukrainians.
“The high-ranking Ukrainian made me understand that the Russians may not enter their cities and deliberately hit civilians, however, they are sabotaging.
“There are cases where patrols and ambulances stop, but the Russians take their vehicles and in some cases kill the crews. Sometimes also civilian vehicles.
“I do not understand what the Russians are doing”
Eftychidis also noted that he cannot understand what the Russians are doing.
“I do not understand why they come and go from the cities. I really do not understand what exactly Putin wants to do,” the economist said.
“I estimate that he most likely wants to keep the areas on the left bank of the Dnieper River, but also the coasts of Ukraine up to Transnistria.
“On the coast Russia has some force of supporters, but it is certain that they will face guerrillas on a 1,000 kilometre front.
“For example, there will need to be at least 10,000 police officers to check the situation in Odessa,” noted Eftychidis.
“The Russian invasion is a huge mistake”
He described the Russian invasion as a “huge mistake”, as Putin’s “security law” was lost in the invasion of Ukraine.
“I think the invasion is a huge mistake,” Eftychidis said.
“With this, Putin has put his country and the whole world on adventures.
“With the invasion, Putin has managed to lose the right he had and the whole compromising part of the West.
“I also consider it a great mistake for Putin to recognise the two Donbass republics. With this decision he opened the bag of Aeolus.
“Any right of the Russian positions was lost with the first bomb on Ukrainian territory.”
Destroyed Ukrainian tank in Mariupol direction .
— Info Warrior – 1821 (@InfoWarriorNews) March 2, 2022
Mariupol is a key strategic target for Russia because seizing it would allow Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine to join forces with troops in Crimea, the southern peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
Ukraine’s army and the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion has resisted Russian forces so far in key parts of the country but the increased aerial bombardment of cities has raised fears Russia is shifting tactics.
Ukraine’s emergency services said more than 2,000 civilians had been killed so far during the Russian invasion, however Greek City Times was not able to independently verify the figure.
Residents in Kharkiv told the BBC they were experiencing heavy aerial bombardment. “It is exhausting and terrifying living under this pressure,” said Iryna Ruzhynska, 40, who was sheltering with her family in her second-floor apartment on Wednesday.
“We have put Scotch tape on the windows and pillows by the window stills,” Ms Ruzhynska said. “We don’t turn on the lights, only the torches on our phones. We managed to go to the store yesterday, but we queued for four hours and there was virtually no food left.”