The Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed today at the Maximos Mansion the Consul General of Greece in Mariupol, Manolis Androulakis, who was the last European Union diplomat to remain in the bombed city, under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions.
During the meeting, they examined the situation in Mariupol and the state of the Greek community in the area, while the Consul General referred to his experiences in the ravaged city.
They also discussed the planning concerning the Greek contribution for the reconstruction of Mariupol after the end of the war and the strengthening of the Greek community. It is stressed that the function of the Consulate General of Greece in Odessa has been restored.
They had the following dialogue at the beginning of their meeting:
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I am very happy to have the opportunity to meet you in person and to congratulate you on your truly exemplary behavior in the hell of Mariupol. It is very important that we managed to keep our diplomatic representation in the affliocted city until the last moment and I believe that you handled this unprecedented situation with responsibility, with dignity, with seriousness, but also with the necessary emotional empathy. So let me warmly congratulate you once again.
I would like to hear your experience on what you have witnessed, so that we can start thinking in a positive way about the future. How will we be able to take an active part in the reconstruction of the city when the hostilities are over and the Russian invasion ends. This invasion has tested all of us and above all the residents of the city that was most severely attacked. Due to the strong presence of the Greek element that has been there for many centuries, we obviously have a special interest.
Manolis Androulakis: I would like to thank you very much for the personal interest you have demonstrated, especially for our Consulate in Mariupol. A great effort was made to do the utmost. From a moment onwards, this was very difficult due to the circumstances and a great effort started, somehow, as soon as possible, to get people out of Mariupol and the Consulate to leave, because now things are very difficult.
It was an effort that was handled by the (Secretary) General (of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Demiris, and I would like to say that the telephone call you made to the Ukrainian President started a process which was “the beginning of the end” for our exit from the city. Let me also thank you for your telephone call when we were finally safe in western Ukraine, and also say that – as I told you then – we took a clear stand on the issue and I think this was appreciated in Ukraine. And the announcements you made and the planning to revitalize this area, in one way or another, I think are in the right direction. And I think that will also be duly appreciated.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Diaspora Greeks Andreas Katsaniotis, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Themistoklis Demiris and the person in charge of European Affairs at the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Anna-Maria Boura.