Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias on Wednesday marked the 28th anniversary of the Imia crisis, which claimed the lives of a three-man Hellenic Navy helicopter crew that went down in the eastern Aegean amid adverse conditions.

Christodoulos Karathanasis and Panagiotis Vlachakos, both posthumously promoted to the rank of vice admiral, and Ektoras Gialopsos, posthumously promoted to the rank of captain, fell in the line of duty during the Imia crisis, which nearly sparked an armed confrontation between Greece and Turkey.

Posting on his personal Χ (Twitter) account, the minister expressed his tribute: “They fell defending the integrity of our homeland. Under adverse conditions. With a sense of duty. And they sacrificed the greatest good: Their lives.”

Dendias also shared photos of the three fallen servicemen as well, captioning the post with “KARATHANASIS-VLACHAKOS-GIALOPSOS Imia, January 31, 1996 ‘IMMORTALS’.”