|From the Greek newspaper Iskra. Picture was taken from inside the hotel. See video at end of source article.|
September 30, 2015
Translated from Greek by Tom Winter
Fascists of Right Sektor hold a Greek delegation barricaded in Odessa — Kostas Isychos, Nadia Valavani, Vassilis Hadjilambrou, Aris Hadjistefanou and the other members of the invited Greek delegation.
Wednesday morning a group from the Ukrainian Nazi organization “Right Sector” barricaded the Greek Mission in their hotel, the hotel “Duke” in the center of Odessa. The Greek delegation had been making contact with representatives of the Greek community there and the organization for Black Sea Ethnic Minorities.
The Greek mission includes the former Deputy Minister of Defence Costas Isuchos, the former Minister of Finance Nadia Valavani; the former Chairman of Foreign Affairs and Defence Claus Hadjilambrou and the journalist Aris Hajistefanou.
At this point officials of the Greek Consulate in Odessa and members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine are following developments.
The Greek mission came to Odessa at the invitation of the organization on Ethnic Minorities in Ukraine, and to meet with the Greek minority institutions to inquire into their problems and express support with the Hellenism of Ukraine.
By Wednesday morning, Ukrainian right-wing publications and websites were publishing diatribes against the Greek delegation, even to the point of accusing them of working for the dismemberment of Ukraine!
Speaking at the Athens agency, Nadia Valavani complained that members of the Ukrainian extreme right organization were constantly harassing them, insisting they “explain” why they are in Odessa.
“The right-wing extremists were telling us we are enemies of Ukraine,” Valavani said, adding that it is the first time that a foreign delegation has essentially put under guard by right-wing elements in Odessa.
Meanwhile, gradually towards noon, it became possible to evacuate the Greek delegation from the hotel through a crowd of Ukrainian fascist paramilitary groups, all wearing masks and holding provocative slogans and banners.
According to the same source, the Greek delegation was thus unable to make it to the main meeting with representatives of the Greek minority. A guide, of Greek origin, for the Greek delegation had been arrested without cause the night before, by Ukrainian State Security.
Panagiotis Lafazanis, chief of the Popular Unity Party (Λαϊκή Ενότητα) denounced the arbitrary abuses against the Greek mission and informed Giannis Amanatidis, Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for issues of Greeks Abroad, of the unacceptable situation experienced by the Greek delegation and asked for the intervention of the Greek government on behalf of the diaspora in Ukraine.
Translator note: For the setting, and the recent sorrows of Odessa, good backgrounder can be read here.