PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis has reportedly been supporting Russian separatists in the Donbass region by supplying vehicles and generators to the fighters, it has emerged.
Savvidis, who is Greek-Russian by origin, has close ties to the Russian president Vladimir Putin and has formerly been a member of Putin’s political party. Before taking charge of PAOK in 2012, the eccentric businessman was the owner of Russian club FC Rostov.
He has already been ‘watched closely’ during this conflict, amid concerns that his TV station was being more sympathetic to Russia than it perhaps should have been. Yahoo sport report that ‘the Russian embassy bluntly encouraged Greeks to watch his station, Open TV, to get an alternative view to what it called “misleading propaganda” about the war in Ukraine.’
Now, however, it has emerged that Savvidis, as head of the Federation of Greek Communities of Russia, has been sending aid to seperatists in the Donbass region.
As reported by in.gr, 'the Federation of Greek Communities of Russia, headed by the well-known and prolific investor in Greece, Ivan Savvidis, chose to deliver the aid directly to Denis Pushilin, the head of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic", essentially differentiating between suffering civilians on the “right side” from those on the “wrong side”, based on the view of the Federation's leadership.'
What was delivered?
Aid in the form of generators and vehicles was delivered to Mariupol, which is currently under Russian occupation. 20 UAZ vehicles and 14 generators were sent from Rostov-on-Don, where Savvidis used to own his football club, to the region.
They also provided food and tanks to carry water, all of which was 'particularly significant for the liberated areas ', the head of the Donetsk People's republic revealed.
It has let Greek authorities in a tricky spot in a time where Russian sympathisers and supporters are being sanctioned across Europe. It remains unclear just what will happen to Savvidis,