S-300 Air Defense from Greece will help Ukraine. If the Greeks care about humanity and freedom

The whole world is now watching the tragic events in Mariupol, a city that the Russian army is barbarically destroying. These events keep making front-page news in Greece because the city is of special importance for the country. A significant Greek community has lived there, on the shores of the Sea of Azov.
Greece tried its best to be present in the city, even when it decided to evacuate the embassy from Kyiv. The Mariupol-based Greek Consul General Manolis Andrulakis became the last diplomat to leave the city. He was able to do so only on March 15. Against his will, he witnessed the crimes against humanity committed by the Russian authorities. Now he is in Athens.
Several ethnic Greeks left Ukraine with him – but not all. Some died. And it’s not just the 10 ethnic Greeks who were known in February. Unfortunately, the Russian air force has brought much more grief, dropping bombs on peaceful towns and villages.
Some Greeks still remain in various cities, especially in the south. They want to continue living in Ukraine.
There are other places in Ukraine that are of symbolic significance to Greece. The estate of the great Greek Constantine Ypsilanti in Kyiv downtown and an alley named after him. Places in Odesa, where “Filiki Eteria” was launched. This secret organization prepared the Greek Revolution. The town of Izmail, where a decision to revolt was made in 1820. It began on March 25, 1821, and led to the liberation of the country from the Ottoman rule.
On this date, March 25, Greece celebrates its Independence Day. It must have a good understanding of the importance of Ukraine’s struggle for independence.
Immediately after the start of the Russian invasion, Greece realized whose side to take, broke its neutrality, and in late February, provided defense assistance. Ukraine is truly grateful for it.
Now Greece can do much more.
The main problem for Ukraine is the Russian aviation, which in Mariupol actually bombs the city and civilian facilities with impunity, without leaving even the diplomatic missions intact. Greece can help stop it. It has at its disposal the S-300 missile division, located in Crete. This air defense system is familiar to Ukrainians. There are operators for it. It can be combat-ready immediately, closing the skies over several Ukrainian cities.
Yes, it is not an easy decision, but Greece can make it together with other NATO partners. The experience of Slovakia, which is now also transferring its S-300 systems to Ukraine, proves that this is real.
Yes, it will take time. But, unfortunately, the war will not end in the coming days.
Even once a truce is reached, it will be important to keep Russian troops in check. It is critical to close the sky. It is very desirable to do so as soon as possible. Greece can take a strong step towards this goal by handing over its S-300 division to Ukraine. Greece can get a substitution for S-300 (just like Slovakia did), and the S-300 transfer will not undermine the Greek air defense.
With an effective air defense system, Ukraine could halt the offensive in the south and save Mariupol from the inhumane carpet bombings that the world has been witnessing.
It is unclear in what form we will return Mariupol. The city is almost destroyed, and the Russian airstrikes continue. But won’t Odesa repeat its story? And other cities of Ukraine?
The assistance of NATO partners, including Greece, can say a resounding no to this question.
So far, Greece does not want to talk about the possibility of transfer. Athens rejected an unofficial request for other, weaker air defense systems, and hinted at a reluctance to talk about the S-300. However, no official decision has been made.
Now the initiative is at hands of the citizens of Greece, of the civil society. It can persuade the authorities to intervene and help stop barbarism, which has no place in the 21st century. We hope that the Ukrainian community in Greece will be able to help too.
This transfer would make sense, considering that it is Ukraine that is now protecting the whole Europe from the unprecedented atrocities and aggression of Putin’s Russia over the past 75 years. Ukrainians can protect Ukraine. But a really effective weapon for self-defense is necessary.
A decision on this aid on the anniversary of Greek independence would prove that the words “independence”, “freedom” and “humanity” are of great importance to Greece and the Greeks.

Translated from SERGIY SYDORENKO, EUROPEAN PRAVDA 21 MARCH 2022
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