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Greek consul general of Mariupol arrives in Athens after harrowing trip

Greek Consul General in Mariupol (Marioupolis) Manolis Androulakis arrived in Athens on Sunday evening, following an intricate operation begun Tuesday to evacuate him from Ukraine.

In statements at the Athens International Airport ‘Eleftherios Venizelos’, Androulakis said the priority is to press for a ceasefire “because at this time, civilians are being hit in a haphazard and uncontrollable way.”

He was welcomed at the airport by his wife, young son, his father, and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Andreas Katsaniotis, responsible for diaspora Greeks, who represented Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Also present was Foreign Minister Secretary General Themistoklis Demiris.

Describing his harrowing experience “watching body parts being collected”, he said the Greek diplomats in Ukraine tried to rescue as many members of the Greek minority in the country as possible. “Mariupol will become an entry on a list of cities destroyed by war,” he noted, “as all infrastructure was destroyed within 24 hours. Mariupol is Guernica, Grozny, Velingrad, Aleppo.”

Androulakis thanked the Greek president, the prime minister, Dendias, the Greek consul general in Odessa, and secretary generals at ministries that helped bring him back. He also thanked the office of Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky, who helped in the evacuation, the Ukrainian embassy in Athens, the OSCE group that he travelled with, and two unknown families that hosted him in on the way out of Ukraine.

He was the last European diplomat remaining in the Mariupol region and said he had been working to aid the diaspora up to the moment he left.

Deputy Minister Katsaniotis thanked him on behalf of the Greek government and all Greeks as well as his colleagues in other cities who worked to help civilians in Ukraine, and said the Greek government continues to work with international agencies for the protection of civilians in the country.