WAR IN UKRAINE: Greek military chief confirms no possibility of anti-aircraft systems being sent to Kiev

Ukraine

The rumour that Greece may send anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine in order to strengthen the defense of Kiev against the Russian invasion was closed in an absolutely indisputable way the head of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA).

In recent days, various scenarios have been circulating on supposed new about the transfer of Russian-made anti-aircraft systems, in which the Ukrainian military army is familiar with, such as the TOR M1, the OSA AK or even the S-300.

The head of GEETHA, General Konstantinos Floros, was asked if the scenario of the transfer of Greece’s S-300 to Ukraine is being studied.

He answered in a way that ends any discussion about the possibility of transferring Greek weapons systems to the war zone.

“Of course, there is absolutely no consideration of the possibility of conceding or disposing of weapons that weaken the country’s defence,” said the chief of GEETHA when asked about the possibility of transporting Greek S-300s to Ukraine.

The statement was made at the handover ceremony of the commander of the 1st ARMY / EU-OHQ “Achilles”, from Lieutenant General Petros Demestihas to Lieutenant General Angelos Houdeloudis.

This took place at the camp “General Nikolaos Plastiras” in Larissa.

Meanwhile, a senior Ukrainian official said about 20,000 people managed to leave Mariupol on Tuesday, the biggest evacuation yet. On Monday, a group of 160 cars left Mariupol, according to the city council.

The first successful evacuations come after several failed attempts since Russian forces surrounded the city early this month.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a deputy head of  President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, said on Telegram the evacuees left Mariupol in private vehicles via a humanitarian corridor agreed with Russian forces.

About 570 of some 4,000 vehicles that left the city have reached Zaporizhzhia, while others will spend the night in various towns along the way, Tymoshenko said on Tuesday.

Arriving in small batches, private vehicles with scraps of white cloth tied to the side mirrors in a sign of peace pulled into the car park of a shopping centre on the city’s outskirts, which is now a registration centre for displaced people.

“This is the first time I have been able to breathe in weeks,” said father-of-two Mykola, his car a jumble of blankets, shoes and other hastily packed belongings.

Those who escaped described a harrowing journey, forced to drive off-road to avoid Russian troops and checkpoints and facing the constant threat of enemy fire on the way.

Mykola, who declined to give his full name for safety reasons, said just 40km (25 miles) from Zaporizhzhia he had had to drive his wife and two young children through a minefield with help from the Ukrainian military.

“As we passed through, there was a burned-out car. Soldiers said a woman had been blown up after she hit a mine just one hour before we got there,” he said.

Regional leader Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian troops seized Mariupol’s largest hospital and took about 500 people hostage during another assault on the southern port city late Tuesday.

He said the troops forced about 400 people from nearby homes into the hospital and were using them and roughly 100 patients and staff as human shields.

Kyrylenko said shelling had already heavily damaged the hospital’s main building, but medical staff have been treating patients in makeshift wards in the basement.

Greek City Times was not able to independently verify the claim.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday the situation in Mariupol “remains dire” and it was not able to deliver aid to the city.

“The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering,” it said.

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