KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday denounced the role of Greek companies in the export of Russian oil, seeing it as a situation which “does not correspond to the interests of Europe”.
“We see how Greek companies provide almost the largest tanker fleet for the transportation of Russian oil,” Zelensky said during a videoconference speech at an economic forum in Athens.
While many shipping companies across the globe have stopped trading with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Greek shipowners, who control the majority of the European Union fleet, continue to transport Russian crude oil.
“This is happening precisely when another Russian energy resource (gas) is being used as a weapon against Europe and against the budget of every European family,” Zelensky said.
“I am sure that this does not correspond to the interests of Europe, Greece or Ukraine,” he added.
In a separate statement, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday urged foreign fleets to “restrict Russia’s access to their services and deplete (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war machine”.
“After all, what Russia really exports to the world today is death, crisis, and lies,” he wrote on Twitter.
The president of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), Melina Travlos, last month defended the continuation of the transportation, assuring that “Greek ships are not doing anything illegal” and “have not violated any embargo”.
In May, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reminded shipowners of their “conscience” when it comes to oil transportation.
Greece was one of the first countries to condemn the war launched by Moscow in Ukraine, despite its historical ties with Russia.
In late June, eight Greek diplomats, including the consul general, were expelled from Moscow.