The appearance of two suspected Greek members of the Azov Battalion in the Greek parliament when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a speech sparked a storm of reaction from opposition parties and wider Greek society last month. .
However, it also triggered reactions from senior officials of the Greek community in Donetsk Oblast, of which Mariupol is a city.
Dmitry Bersteev, the chairman of the Donetsk Greek Association, told TeleSUR: “I don’t know what kind of fascists the Azov [Battalion] can fight if they themselves are fascists and Nazis. You can see in all the videos the swastikas and so on.
“It is evident in the videos they make and with their tattoos with Nazi symbols. Because they are the heirs of the Nazis who fought against our grandfathers and grandmothers,” added Bersteev.
His comments were in reaction to one of the Azov members who addressed the Greek parliament and identified himself as Mikhail.
“I was born in Mariupol and I am involved in defending the city against Russian Nazis,” Mikhail told Greek lawmakers.
“I will not talk about the difficulties we have in defense, participating via the Azov battalion. It is my debt to my city, my debt as a man and I must speak of the catastrophic conditions in which Greek Mariupol lives,” he added.
Continuing his statement, Bersteev said: “Secondly, I don’t know what kind of Greeks they are. I know a lot of Greeks, I have a lot of friends in Mariupol, and none of them took up arms to my knowledge.
For his part, Andrei Nichola, a senior member of the Donetsk Greek Association, said: “These two bastards, they are now close to heaven and that is their problem. I think there will be an account for all their sins against their own people.
“They will be punished sooner or later,” he added.
Speaking of Mikhail’s claims that he is fighting Russian fascism, Nichola said: “They said something about fighting fascism, not real nationalists and patriots, it’s the fascists.”
“Who did their grandparents fight with? My grandparents fought against fascism, against Hitler, against German fascism.
Meanwhile, according to SKAI, Mikhail was deputy commander of the Azov battalion in Mariupol and from 2014 led a campaign against Russian speakers.
Mikhail is believed to have died after a battle that took place near Azofstal, SKAI reported on Tuesday morning.
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