Greece summons the Russian ambassador after 10 nationals were killed and six wounded in Ukraine.
The colours of the Ukrainian flag are projected on the facade of the parliament building in support of the Ukrainian people after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Athens, Greece [Costas Baltas/Reuters]
At least 10 Greek nationals have been killed and six wounded by Russia’s bombing in Ukraine, Greece’s foreign ministry said, adding that it has summoned the Russian ambassador to Greece.
Six people were killed in the Sartana village and four others in Buhas, located about 15km and 65km (9.3 miles and 40 miles), respectively north of Mariupol, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday, adding that there was a child among the injured.
Thousands of Greek expatriates live in Mariupol, the heart of the ethnic Greek community that dates to the 18th century.
Greece is “appalled by and unequivocally condemns the bombing of civilians” by Russia, read the statement which also said the Russian diplomat is expected at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.
“Stop the bombing now!” Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Twitter.
The killing came as Ukraine has entered the fourth day of a massive sea, land and air offensive by Russia which has so far killed more than 200 civilians and wounded hundreds.
Just days before the Russian invasion, Dendias had “urgently” raised the protection of the ethnic Greeks in Ukraine during a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the ministry added.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his solidarity with Greece, saying that “all people of Europe”, and not just Ukrainians, are mourning today.
Translation: “It is not just the people of Ukraine who are mourning today because of the war waged by Russia, but all the peoples of Europe. Tonight we think with sadness of Greece that unjustly lost 10 expatriates who lived in Ukraine near Mariupol.
The Russian embassy in Athens in a statement expressed “deep sorrow” over the deaths, but insisted that Russia was “exclusively” targeting military units and installations in Ukraine.
“We do not bomb inhabited areas and villages, nor any political or cultural infrastructure,” the embassy said, adding that “the Ukrainian army and nationalist Nazi squads have been known for many years to strike against civilians”.
It denied that Russian units were active in the Sartana area on Saturday.
“The Kiev [Kyiv] regime is possibly using the ethnic Greek and other communities living in Ukraine precisely to foment anti-Russian reaction abroad,” it added.
Earlier this month, Athens protested to Kyiv after an ethnic Greek died in a brawl in eastern Ukraine, which Athens blamed on Ukrainian soldiers.
On Friday, Greece closed its embassy in Ukraine’s capital but reinforced its consular presence in the southern city of Mariupol.
Despite historic links to Russia, Greece has condemned the attack and has supported sanctions against Moscow.
Anti-war protests by Ukrainians living in Greece and political parties were also held during the week.
On Sunday, the Greek government decided to send defensive material to Ukraine, transported by two C-130 military aircraft, local media reported. The decision came a day after PM Mitsotakis said in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Athens was sending medical supplies in assistance.
Athens is also willing to provide Poland with “humanitarian and technical assistance” in managing refugees from Ukraine, the Greek migration ministry said.