CLOSE
Loading...
12° Nicosia,
10 August, 2022
 
Home  /  News

Cyprus walks back statement on Mariupol deaths

Nicosia hangs back statement on deaths of ethnic Greeks in Ukraine but still condemns ‘acts against international law’

Newsroom

Nicosia has condemned the "tragic loss" of unarmed ethnic Greeks in Ukraine over the weekend but an official statement by the foreign ministry on Monday stopped short of pointing the finger squarely at Russia.

Ten civilians of Greek cultural background were killed and six others wounded on Saturday near the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, drawing strong condemnation from Athens that summoned Russia's ambassador after a verbal demarche.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on Sunday re-tweeted a message from his department expressing “deep sorrow over the tragic deaths of ten unarmed Diaspora Greeks in the village of Sartana near Mariupol.”

Foreign ministry spokesperson Demetris Demetriou on Sunday had posted the original message saying the deaths of ten unarmed Greeks came “from Russian air strikes at a village in Mariupol.”

But in an official statement issued on Monday, the Cypriot foreign ministry stopped short of pointing the finger explicitly at Russia, saying instead the deaths were a result of “air strikes and bombings.”

A foreign ministry spokesperson tweeted the deaths of ten unarmed Greeks came 'from Russian air strikes' but an official statement on Monday stopped short of pointing the finger explicitly at Russia

“We condemn any action that goes against international law and its fundamental principles,” the official statement said.

The Russian Embassy in Athens says there was no air operation in the Mariupol area on the day in question, adding “we do not bomb residential areas and villages, nor any political or social infrastructure.”

“At the same time, we note that the Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi nationalist battalions have been known for many years to strike, even with heavy weapons, at civilians,” Moscow argued.

But Athens insisted they had evidence against Moscow, with Greek foreign ministry official Alexandros Papaioannou laying blame squarely on the Russians.

“Orthodox bombs killed Orthodox members of the Diaspora. Let’s remember this. And what the Russian embassy has said was fake news,” Papaioannou added.

Both sides say they have evidence

Moscow over the weekend also repeated a claim that “Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi nationalist battalions have been known for many years to strike, even with heavy weapons, at civilians," arguing this had been well-documented. 

“We warn that the Kiev regime is likely to use the Greek, as well as other ethnic communities living in Ukraine, precisely to provoke and inflate the anti-Russian reaction from abroad,” a Russian statement read.

Greek officials in Athens declined to elaborate on their information but Papaioannou told local television “we have evidence.”

The mayor of Paphos, a city on the western coast of the island, has issued an open invitation to Ukrainians of Greek descent to settle in his town.

Reports on Monday also said the European Union was preparing to grant war-fleeing Ukrainians the right to stay and work in the bloc for up to three years.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Ukraine  |  Russia  |  Greek  |  Mariupol  |  invasion  |  war  |  Kasoulides  |  foreign ministry  |  air strikes  |  bombings

News: Latest Articles

X