Greek FM Dendias stresses to Ukraine to guarantee safety of Mariupol's Greek Consulate

Mariupol Dendias

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba yesterday, after news filtered that the building housing the Greek diplomatic mission in Mariupol was hit.

Dendias made known his communication with his Ukrainian counterpart via Twitter, asking for guarantees for the safety of the Greek Consul General in the city.

This comes as the siege is suffocating the city since it is a primary target of the Russian forces, being in the middle of corridor between Odessa and the Donbass region, and the main hub of the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.

Dendias asked for "the assistance of the Ukrainian authorities for the security of the Greek Consul General in Mariupol, as well as for the creation of a humanitarian corridor for evacuation."

The tweet was made after the bullets received by the OSCE building, where services of the Greek consulate now operate.

It is recalled that the Consulate General of Greece in Mariupol was relocated a week ago to the OSCE building as a safer option for members of the Greek diplomatic mission, however, the situation in the city of Mariupol has deteriorated.

This resulted in the building of the regional organisation to be targeted yesterday during an exchange of fire in the afternoon.

Dendias asked Kuleba for the protection of the Consul General, as well as the cooperation of the Ukrainian forces with him, in order to start the removal of as many expatriates as possible (the majority of whom remain in the shelters for the last few days).

According to sources, Kuleba could not commit to Dendias the demands of Athens.

However, the concern is anything but receding, as after the death of 12 ethnic Greeks in the village of Sartana and Buhas, the bullets found yesterday the building that houses the Greek delegation during street battles raging in the city.

Both the Greek consul in Mariupol, Manolis Androulakis, and the consulate staff were transferred yesterday to a safe shelter, while Androulakis is in good health and contacted the Greek authorities via satellite phone.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the second attempt to evacuate the city's 200,000 civilians was "stopped", with residents still trapped within the urban fabric of the city.

From the underground shelter, the Mayor of Mariupol stressed yesterday that "they are destroying us", at a time when a key priority for Boitshenko is to help many of the 400,000 people who want to leave the city .

After all, most of the residents of Mariupol, including thousands of expatriates, sleep in shelters to escape the almost constant bombing.

Russian forces have surrounded the city, cutting off water supply, electricity, heating and shortages of food and water, according to Ukrainian authorities.

"They are working methodically to block the city," said the 44-year-old mayor from the basement, which he has turned into his office. "They do not even give us the opportunity to count the wounded and the dead, because the bombing does not stop," he complained.

"They lied to us and at the same time as people were trying to leave to go to these corridors, the bombing started again," Boichenko said, describing the fear and anger of Mariupol residents who had to return again to shelters.

It is noted that the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion operated unhindered in Mariupol and with no condemnation from the mayor.

Mariupol has been pounded by heavy shelling since Thursday, when Russian forces encircled the city of about 400,000 people. Residents were left without food, heat and electricity in a situation that humanitarian aid workers have described as “catastrophic”.

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“We know from our staff that they are desperately trying to keep safe as heavy attacks continue and food supplies run dangerously low,” Laurent Ligozat, the emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Ukraine, said on Saturday.

“Internet and phone services have been cut off,” he said. “Hospitals, supermarkets, and residential buildings have suffered heavy damages.”

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