Ukrainian President, Volodimir Zelenskyarrived this Monday in Athens for an official visit, where he is scheduled to participate in an informal dinner with leaders from the EU and the Balkans.
Greece it has strongly supported Ukraine since the Russian invasion, providing humanitarian aid and weapons, including infantry fighting vehicles, Kalashnikov assault rifles, launchers and ammunition.
“The order of business is all we can do together to protect human life and freedom in our common European home”, Zelensky stated in a Telegram message before the meetings. “Every day we add strength to our state, our soldiers and our cooperation with partners,” he noted.
The Ukrainian president is concluding a european tour with previous stops in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Denmark and the Netherlands have said they will provide US F-16s to bolster kyiv’s Soviet-era air force in its heavy-handed counteroffensive against Russian forces.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet the balkan leaders until Tuesday, and will host an informal dinner on Monday night that will also be attended by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the head of the European Council, Charles Michel.
The other participants are the presidents of Serbia, Moldova, Montenegro and Romaniathe prime ministers of Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Croatiaand the president of the council of ministers of Bosnia HerzegovinaMitsotakis’ office reported in a statement.
The Greek Prime Minister’s office noted that the meeting marks the 20th anniversary of a summit held in Thessaloniki in 2003 that confirmed the European perspective of the Western Balkan states.
Historically allied with Russia, bound by centuries of tradition and a common Orthodox Christian faith, Greece under Mitsotakis has roundly and unequivocally condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last year it expelled a dozen members of Russian diplomatic and consular missions, and is hosting thousands of Ukrainians and their families.
In April, the Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, visited the Greek capital to meet with his then counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos. Reznikov then declared that, after the war, Ukraine would seek Greek help in demining the Azov Sea and developing the country’s naval forces.
Greece has also offered to rebuild the Mariupol maternity hospital, bombed last year.
In April 2022, Zelensky gave a televised address to a special session of the Greek parliament to request aid for Mariupol and Odessa, two Ukrainian cities that have had large ethnic Greek populations for centuries.
The session was attended by the Greek Head of State, President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and Zelensky was applauded by the Greek ministers and deputies.
The Greek communists and a small nationalist party boycotted the event.
(With information from AFP)
The United States asked its citizens not to travel to Belarus or leave the country immediately
Zelensky assured that the F-16 fighters will give “new results for Ukraine” in the face of the invasion