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Greece Assumes Leadership in EU Naval Mission in the Red Sea

Credits: Bloomberg

Greece has formally agreed to lead a European Union maritime security operation in the Red Sea, aimed at protecting commercial shipping from attacks by Houthi militants in Yemen. The operation, named Aspides, which means “shield” in Greek, was launched last week and will be commanded from a military base in Larissa, Greece.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s security committee has ordered the participation of a Greek frigate in the mission, under the command of Greek navy Commodore Vasilios Griparis.

Greece, being a major commercial shipping power, has been directly impacted by Houthi attacks, with the port of Piraeus reporting a significant drop in activity at its container terminal in January.

EU Naval Mission (Credits:

Defense Minister Nikos Dendias emphasized the risks involved in the operation but stressed Greece’s commitment to safeguarding the freedom of navigation and the lives of Greek seafarers. Germany, Italy, and France will also contribute warships to the mission, with Italy assuming tactical command.

Officials in Athens have described the mission as defensive, stating that Greece will not participate in U.S.-led attacks against Houthi military targets in Yemen. The Houthis, backed by Iran, claim their attacks on commercial ships are in response to Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Dendias reiterated Greece’s position at a parliamentary committee hearing, stating that keeping maritime trade routes open is crucial for the country. He emphasized that Greece does not take a position on the Houthi issue but challenges the right of anyone to attack Greek, European, or other ships in the region.

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