Outrage over speech by Azov member — RT DE

8 Apr 2022 11:44 am

The speech by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy to the Greek parliament on Thursday caused debate and outrage in the country. The reason is that Zelenskiy’s appearance was linked to a video message from a member of Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion.

Several Greek politicians have expressed their outrage after a member of the far-right Azov battalion joined in with a message to parliamentarians during a video conference between the Greek parliament and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday.

First of all, the Ukrainian President thanked Zelensky in his speech Athens for imposing sanctions on Russia while asking for even more support from the Greeks. The ports of European cities are to be closed to Russian ships. At the same time, he called on Athens to use Greece’s influence in the EU to preserve “our common heritage” in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

The 44-year-old emphasized the common history of both countries, saying that “Ukraine is one of the orthodox countries that was Christianized by the Greeks.” According to Zelenskiy, Ukrainian culture and history will show “that we will lose a large part of our history if we lose the culture introduced by the Greeks”. He also underlined the important role of the large Greek minority “in the struggle for Mariupol”.

After that first part of his speech, in an apparent attempt to highlight ties between the two countries, Zelensky then had a video message played by two suspected Ukrainian-Greek fighters, one of whom said he was a member of the Azov regiment, which is known to be far-right is notorious.

After the session explained Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou via short message service Twitter: “The inclusion of the message of a member of the Azov battalion was wrong and inappropriate.”

Greece’s largest opposition party SYRIZA, on the other hand, reacted even more sharply and protested vehemently against the appearance of the neo-Nazi fighter. Several members of the group reportedly walked out of the meeting during the speech in protest. SYRIZA boss Alexis Tsipras explained:

“The speech by members of the Azov neo-Nazi battalion in the Greek parliament is a provocation. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has absolute responsibility. He spoke of a historic day, but it is a historic shame. Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is a matter of course. But the Nazis are not allowed to have a say in Parliament.”

Olga Gerovasili, Secretary of SYRIZA Parliamentary Group, said after the speech: “Today we listened with respect and solidarity to the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky, who opposes the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to whom we pledge our support. ” She added that it was “however unacceptable” that a member of the Azov battalion was allowed to address the Greek parliament alongside President Zelensky.

According to Gerovasili, SYRIZA will ask Parliament for an official explanation as to why this person took part in the video conference and whether anyone knew that this person was involved, which she also described as a “big mistake”.

The soldier in question identified himself by his first name, Michael, and claimed that he was an ethnic Greek, born in Mariupol and now serving as a member of the Azov Battalion in the city’s defense against “Russian Nazis,” before adding, his grandfather would have fought against the Nazis in World War II.

The Greek parliament said it was informed about the speeches by the two foreigners just ten minutes before the Ukrainian president’s video address and had not received any further information.

More on the subject – Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk: “Putin worse than Hitler” – really?

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