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Greece must use EU influence to help Mariupol people: Zelenskyy

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday called on Greece to use its clout in the EU to rescue the remaining population of “martyred” Mariupol.

“Please use your influence as EU members to better organise whatever rescue can be carried out in Mariupol,” Zelenskyy told a special session of the Greek parliament, according to the official translation.

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Mariupol, located in a strategic southeastern spot between Russia-occupied Crimea and pro-Russian separatist regions in Ukraine’s east, has been battered by Russian assaults since February.

“We must save whoever we can,” Zelenskyy said, adding that some 100,000 people were still left around the devastated city.

“Mariupol and Odessa need immediate assistance,” he said, as pro-Ukraine demonstrators gathered outside parliament.

The Ukraine president also called for stronger bans on Russian banks and tankers.

“Russian banks must not be able to make money on the global credit system, we must shut the door, not just to some of them,” he said.

“For as long as this terrible war continues, no (ship) of Russian registry or interests can be allowed to access European ports... no acceptance of Russian tankers,” Zelenskyy said.

Earlier Thursday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Athens would call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe “crimes of war” in the port city.

“Greece has a specific, special interest for Mariupol because of the existence of a 100,000 and more Greek community in Mariupol,” Dendias said as he arrived for the second day of a NATO meeting in Brussels.

Greece has also offered to rebuild the maternity hospital in Mariupol that was shelled in March.

Though a traditional Russia ally bound by centuries of tradition and a shared Orthodox Christian faith, Greece has unequivocally condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Athens has sent Kiev humanitarian and lethal aid, and on Wednesday said it was expelling 12 members of Russia's diplomatic and consular missions.

Read more:

Mariupol’s dead put at 5,000 as Ukraine braces in the east

German ex-officials file war crimes complaint against Russia

Greece to call on ICC to probe war crimes in Ukraine’s Mariupol

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