ATHENS (Reuters) -Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias arrived in Odesa on Sunday at the head of a humanitarian aid mission into the southern port city of Ukraine, the foreign ministry said.
The humanitarian aid was handed to the city’s municipal authorities.
Dendias, 62, also aims to set up a continuous mechanism of distributing aid from Greece and to reopen the country’s consulate in the city.
“The reopening of (Greece’s) consulate will help distribute humanitarian aid and set up corridors for the Greek ethnic community to leave from any areas of Ukraine, if needed, via Odesa,” the minister said after upon his arrival in Odesa, according to a statement from the Greek foreign ministry.
Missiles struck Odesa in the early hours of Sunday, the city council said in an online post.
Dendias said last month he planned to lead a humanitarian aid mission to the besieged city of Mariupol in Ukraine, where thousands of ethnic Greeks live, but intense fighting there meant the destination was subsequently changed to Odesa.
At least 10 ethnic Greeks have been killed and several have been wounded since Russia started attacking Mariupol. More than 150 Greek citizens, vessel crews and ethnic Greeks have been evacuated from the region, according to the Greek government.
Ukraine’s troops have retaken more than 30 towns and villages around Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said on Saturday, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since Russia launched its invasion.
Russia has depicted its drawdown of forces near Kyiv as a goodwill gesture in peace talks. Ukraine and its allies say Russia was forced to shift its focus to east Ukraine after suffering heavy losses.
(Reporting by George GeorgiopoulosEditing by Raissa Kasolowsky)