"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 of Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos earlier on Friday, as he welcomed Russian cosmonaut of Greek descent Fyodor Yurchikhin-Grammatikopoulos at 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 honour Russia but you also honour Greece," said Pavlopoulos to Yurchikhin-Grammatikopoulos

On his part, the Russian cosmonaut thanked Pavlopoulos for the warm reception and underlined that he comes 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 to Pavlopulos a commemorative medal that is 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 they supported me mentally and psychologically during this voyage in space...It is the medal of the "Argo," he said.