The Greek consul in Mariupol held out until last Tuesday to bring compatriots to safety. His own escape from Ukraine lasted almost a week. Now he is back in Athens and describes the horror in the embattled port city. It faces the same fate as other cities that have been razed to the ground in wars.

One of the last European diplomats has left the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol. After returning to Athens, the Greek consul Manolis Androulakis said: “Mariupol will be included in a list of cities in the world completely destroyed by war, such as Guernica, Stalingrad, Grozny, Aleppo.” He called on people to “unite their voices to call for a ceasefire” to evacuate civilians.

In Greece, Androulakis is celebrated as a hero because he successfully organized the departure of numerous Greek citizens from the city until the end. A large Greek minority has existed in Ukraine since the 18th century, living primarily in Donetsk Oblast and the Mariupol Region. “We tried to save as many emigrants as possible,” said Androulakis, who himself traveled by car and plane for several days before landing in Athens on Sunday. He also thanked the families who hosted him on his way from Ukraine.

He described grim scenes from the port city, where he had seen human limbs scattered on the streets after Russian attacks. The civilians were being attacked “blindly” and without restraint and were “helpless,” he said. The entire infrastructure in the city was destroyed within 24 hours. Androulakis emphasized: “Heroes are the people who stayed there and will try to rebuild their lives from scratch”. He has been involved with Russia for 20 years. “What is happening here is a tragedy for both the Ukrainian and Russian people.”

Mariupol is the last major port city on the Sea of ​​Azov under Ukrainian control. More than 2,100 residents of the city have been killed since the Russian invasion began on February 24, according to the Ukrainian government. The situation for the people of the besieged city was “catastrophic”.