“You give us weapons, we give you terror!” – Kiev’s view on Greek-Ukrainian relations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Kiev

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared on June 15 that Athens is ready to send Ukraine up to 30 armoured vehicles. According to the head of the Greek government, delivery is to take place within an exchange with Germany which promised to transfer “Marder” infantry fighting vehicles in exchange.

Nevertheless, terms of transfer of Greek military equipment to Kiev were repeatedly postponed. So, at the beginning of June Greece detained sending Soviet BMP-1 at least for two months as Germany detained deliveries of IFV “Marder” which had to replace the transferred vehicles to Ukraine.

Such actions by Berlin caused an indignity in Greece’s Ministry of Defence, which accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz of an unwillingness to help the Ukrainian side.

However Ukrainian authorities had absolutely different opinions. They were convinced that the Greeks purposely blocked military supplies for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied with two fighters of the Azov Battalion, achieved from the Greek side granted military equipment when he addressed parliament of Greece in April.

Then the Ukrainian leader urged Athens to give the maximum support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, appealing to the presence of Azov Greeks living in Ukraine and fighting against Russia. One of them gave his name is Mikhail (subsequently died), another called himself Anastasios.

The speech of the Ukrainian leader lasted about 15 minutes, however, instead of desirable support it provoked scandal instead.

The secretary of SYRIZA party Olga Gerovasili called the appearance of the ultra-radical Azov Battalion in front of Greece’s parliament inadmissible and absolutely improper.

Deputies of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the right-wing party Hellenic Solution (Elliniki Lisi) did not want to listen to Zelensky’s performance at all and refused to be present in parliament.

Greece, where their heroic fight against German Nazism is not forgotten yet, did not support that approach of Ukraine. Zelensky, having refused to consider historical aspects, aired spiritual successors of those against whom Greeks fought during WWII – fighters of the Azov Battalion.

The Ukrainian authorities, in their turn, decided neither to wait nor to spare time, arranging requests, threats and ultimatums to Athens. Instead they started the prosecution of the ethnic Greeks living in Ukraine on a national basis.

The conflicts with participation of ethnic Greeks, which are purposely provoked by the Ukrainian military personnel, regularly happened even before the war in Ukraine.

Now this problem became aggravated. So, fighters of the Ukrainian radical Right Sector in the Velikonovoselkovsky district of the Donetsk People’s Republic acted with open appeals of genocide against the ethnic Greeks of Donetsk who are loyal to Russia.

There were messages that these fighters beat civilians of Greek origin because Ukrainian forces took things of value, such as cars and property. After “the sale” of the property. division commanders appropriated all the money.

In Krasnaya Polyana near Zaporizhia where a Greek community historically lives, on the eve of May 9 Victory Day commemorations, all fields were mined. As a result, the long-awaited holiday did not take place because of serious threat to life and health of locals.

Not only were ordinary citizens were threatened, but also Greek diplomats. Particularly, in March for several weeks the consul of Greece Manolis Androulakis and 30 more OSCE mission officials were stuck in the city of Mariupol because of the Azov Battalion.

Appealing to the need of ensuring diplomats protection, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists effectively used them as hostages for their negotiations with Russia.

In addition, Manolis Androulakis and his colleagues had no opportunity to contact the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the blocking of cellular communication by the Ukrainian military.

Kiev’s authorities ignored this problem in every possible manner; therefor they seriously risked starting a large-scale diplomatic scandal.

Surprisingly everything went on fine as the Greeks not only showed an extreme degree of favour to Kiev and its actions, but also behaved bravely as Manolis Andrulakis personally made the decision to resume his mission in Ukraine and headed to the Embassy in Kiev.

There was one more disrespect for Greece from Kiev. Ukrainian Army commanders decided to include a Greek national emblem for the Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

In April, near the city of Raisin, Russian security officers covered a shelter of the nationalist Igor Sarbash with a call sign “Greek”, the member of the Ukrainian voluntary army (military wing of The Right Sector.

On entrance to Sarbash’s house, the SS – an emblem of the National Socialist German Workers Party formations, was on display

After 2018, fighters of the organisation were engaged in kidnappings, robberies and murders of the Kiev authorities’ political opponents.

It is barefaced hypocrisy of the Ukrainian authorities to expect arms supplies from Greece and persistently demanding the increase of support volumes from Athens, especially as Kiev actively use radicals for prosecution of the ethnic Greeks living in of Ukraine.

It is obvious that the actions of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis constitute terror against Greece and the Greek nation. In face of these war crimes, a without limitation period the Ukrainian government and direct performers have to be responsible in court.

Kemran Mamedov is a Moscow-based Azerbaijani journalist born in Georgia with a focus on South Caucasus issues.

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Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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