“Greeks around the world, the Greek soul is what makes the borders of our country extend far beyond its geographic frontiers. Greece is everywhere in the world and now with you Greece is also in space,” stated President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday, as he welcomed a Russian cosmonaut of Greek descent Fyodor Yurchikhin-Grammatikopoulos to the presidential mansion.
“We Greeks are very proud of you. Of course you are a Russian citizen but your Greek roots, which you also feel, are something that makes us consider you a part of Greece, given that a large part of your family also lives permanently in Greece. You honor Russia but you also honor Greece,” said Pavlopoulos to Yurchikhin-Grammatikopoulos
The Russian cosmonaut thanked Pavlopoulos for the warm reception and underlined that he came to Greece with an open heart: “There is no doubt that I considered and consider Greece my second country. I am a very happy and rich man. I have a huge number of friends and relatives in many places of the world.”
He presented Pavlopoulos with a commemorative medal given to the members of the team that prepare missions in the Soyuz spaceship, in which he had travelled, underlining: “Through your person, I would like to give this medal to the Greek people and particularly those Greeks that … supported me mentally and psychologically during this voyage in space…It is the medal of the ‘Argo’,” he said.