Three buses carrying refugees from Ukraine arrived in Greece on Monday morning. On board women and children and elderly men, as those aged 18-60 are not allowed to leave the country.
One buss with 36 people onboard arrived at Omonoia square in downtown Athens. The families were welcomed by relatives who already have been living in the Greek capital.
With tears in her eyes and hugs a woman welcomed her granddaughter and her daughter in law and said to a Greek reporter “Thank you all very much.”
The people arrived in Athens after a 26-hour drive from Romania. Many had to walk dozens of kilometers from their villages to the neighboring country dollowing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Two more buses with over 110 people on board arrived at Promachonas custom gates state broadcaster ERT reported. Some of them said that they had worked in the past in Greece and now they return for safety others because they have relatives in the country.
According to Greek authorities a total of 1,032 refugees from Ukraine arrived in the last five days.
Speaking to state broadcaster ERT on Monday, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said that “Greece is open to hosting Ukrainian refugees, we consider it our obligation to take part in this humanitarian chain.”
He added that “it should become obligatory for all EU member-states to contribute to the redistribution of the flows from Ukraine. Just as we asked for this when we faced the crisis with Turkey, it is a matter of principle to also say this now, when we must support the countries of Eastern Europe.”
International authorities estimate that some 500,000 people have already left Ukraine, and this number could rise to five million.