President Anastasiades paid a visit to the Russian aircraft-carrying missile cruiser ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ which is docked at Limassol port.
In a move showing the increasing cooperation between Russia and South Cyprus, the Russian military were given full use of the main military airbase at Paphos and Limassol port, in January.
The president said that the presence of foreign warships in South Cyprus ports clearly demonstrates the “stabilising role” South Cyprus can perform in the eastern Mediterranean.
The South’s Ministry of Defence has emphasised that Andreas Papandreou airbase can only be used by the Russians for “emergency scenarios” and humanitarian missions.
While visiting the aircraft carrier Anastasiades said that “you’re welcomed here because you are our friends but also because with your mission to neutralise chemical weapons you secure peace”.
Anastasiades expressed “great joy” because South Cyprus is playing host to one of Russia’s major vessels of war and peace, within its territorial waters.
He also expressed his satisfaction over the visit which “urges us to discuss what we seek, namely to deepening and strengthening traditional historical relations always maintained between the Republic and the former Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation”.
While the situation in Syria remains fragile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the Mediterranean as a “strategic region” where Russia has its own interests. Last year he announced the restoration of a permanent presence for the Russian fleet in the region.