Live Updates: Ukraine Holds Line as Biden Is Poised to Increase Pressure on Russia

March 23, 2022, 9:14 a.m. ET

March 23, 2022, 9:14 a.m. ET

Alexandros Vlachos/EPA, via Shutterstock

ATHENS — Greece’s consul general in Mariupol, the last E.U. diplomat to evacuate from the besieged Ukrainian port, has described Russian forces’ lightning-fast destruction of the city as “a wound that will be very hard to heal.”

“Within 24 hours, all infrastructure was lost, everything was bombed,” the diplomat, Manolis Androulakis, said on Sunday night upon arriving at Athens’ international airport. He called the devastation “a tragedy both for the Ukrainian and the Russian people.”

“Mariupol will become part of a list of cities that were completely destroyed by war — I don’t need to name them: They are Guernica, Coventry, Aleppo, Grozny, Leningrad,” Mr. Androulakis said. “What I saw, I hope no one will ever see.”

Greece has a particular connection to Mariupol, because the region has been home to about 150,000 members of an ethnic Greek community that dates back centuries.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece said last week that his country was ready to rebuild a Mariupol maternity hospital that was destroyed in Russian shelling. Writing on Twitter, he described Mariupol as “a city dear to our hearts and symbol of the barbarity of the war.”

With hundreds of thousands of people still trapped in the city, Greece’s foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, said on Tuesday that he had asked Ukraine to facilitate Greek efforts to get more humanitarian aid to the area and appealed to Russia not to hinder those efforts. On Wednesday, he said he had confirmed in a telephone exchange with his Ukrainian counterpart that he intended to accompany that aid mission himself.

Much of the city has been left without food, electricity and water as Russian attacks have caused widespread destruction.

“Now it is certain, Mariupol is no more,” Mr. Androulakis, the Greek diplomat, lamented in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.

“When I saw the buildings of Mariupol ablaze and collapsing, I said they will build them again in the future,” he wrote. “When I saw the sunken ships in the port, I thought they’ll be recovered at some point and will be able to sail anew in the Sea of Azov and Black Sea.”

But he was “gripped by something else” on Monday, he added, when he saw “the destruction of the hulking, rather unseemly industrial factory Azovstal,” Mariupol’s iron and steel works. “Like the port, that factory was the life of the city, a place of work for 40,000 people.”

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