The Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine does not recognize the activities of any structures of the Greek community in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian invaders.
According to Ukrinform, this is stated in a statement made by the agency’s correspondent, chairman of the Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine Oleksandra Protsenko-Pychadzhi, who left the temporarily occupied Mariupol.
She stated that Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine divided the Greek movement into before and after and forced many ethnic Greeks to rethink their lives, values and principles. Someone left the occupied territories, someone ended up in Greece or Cyprus, but a significant part of the Azov Greeks remained.
“Our compatriots remained in almost every settlement of Donbass with a compact settlement of Greeks, who before the war actively participated in the Greek national movement. Some of them completely stopped their social activities after the occupation, while others, on the contrary, decided that right now, with the support of the occupation authorities, they had the opportunity to take the helm of Greek societies,” Protsenko-Pichadzhi said.
According to her, the head of the Greeks of the so-called DPR and the occupied Mariupol and the Greek settlements of the Sea of \u200b\u200bAzov region proclaimed herself the ex-chairman of the Donetsk Society of Greeks named after F. Istanbulzha Elena Prodan. She specifically returned from Greece, where she has been living permanently since 2018, to Donetsk.
Another ex-activist of the Greek movement, Natalia Bila, who worked for more than 10 years in the executive committee of the Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine, independently proclaimed herself the new chairman of the Mariupol Society of Greeks.
Protsenko-Pichadzhi noted that this company of self-proclaimed leaders of the Greek movement in the occupied territories was joined by a notary, former chairman of the Volnovakha District Society of Greeks, Valentina Petrenko. She also, without any meetings, conferences and elections, using the support of the leadership of the “DPR”, proclaimed herself the new chairman of the Volnovakha District Society of Greeks.
“Neither Elena Prodan, nor Natalia Bila, nor Valentina Petrenko, after the events of 2014, did not hide their frank pro-Russian sympathies. In particular, after 2014, Elena Prodan and members of the Donetsk Society of Greeks she leads, accompanied each “heroic holiday of the Dnrovites” with performances by ensembles, the leader of the structure she was present at official ceremonies, etc. For such activities, the head of the Donetsk Society of Greeks named after F. Stambulzha was included in the list of the Peacemaker website,” Protsenko-Pichadzhi said in her statement.
She emphasized that now these pro-Russian activists have decided on their own, without any elections, meetings, etc. proclaim themselves the leaders of the Greek movement in the so-called DPR and in the occupied territories of Donbass. They threaten that the new “authority” will nationalize the buildings of the cultural centers of the Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine and “Meotida” of the Mariupol Society of Greeks, built with Greek funds, as well as the building of the Greek medical center “Hippocrates”.
In addition, self-proclaimed leaders propose to move the capital of the Greeks from Mariupol to Donetsk.
“The Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine does not recognize the activities of any structures of the Greek community in the occupied territories, categorically condemns the criminal actions of E. Prodan, N. Biloy, V. Petrenko and their attempts to lead fake organizations of Greeks in the territory of the newly created quasi-republic. And he bows to the Greeks, who showed patriotism and flatly refused to cooperate with them,” the FSTU chairman emphasized in her statement.
According to the 2001 census, 91.5 thousand ethnic Greeks live in Ukraine, 77.5 of them live in the Sea of Azov, Donetsk region. Significant Greek centers in Ukraine are also concentrated around the cities of Odessa, Kharkov, Zhytomyr, Nizhyn, Lvov.