The Russian navy will carry out naval exercises at sea, off Cyprus’ eastern coast, between 20-23rd October, Captain Constantine Fitiris serving with the Cyprus Navy confirmed on Thursday, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.
He also pointed out that the presence of the Russian Navy has nothing to do with South Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Captain Fitiris also clarified that the Russian naval forces would not be operating near the Turkish seismic vessel ship ‘Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha’, which will begin seismic operations offshore South Cyprus on 20th October.
He noted that the two issues – the Turkish’ Barbaros’ and the Russian navy – are not related in any way.
Captain Fytiris told CNA that a request from Russia to hold exercises has been communicated to the government of the Republic of Cyprus.
This, he explained, is standard procedure, which Moscow applies periodically when it wants to carry out exercises in areas where it has an interest.
The exercise will be held at various times during the day. An area of 800 square miles at sea has been committed to this exercise. In addition to that, during the three-day exercise, aircraft will be diverted, he explained, noting that there is not much air traffic in the area because of the situation in Syria.
“The important thing is that they get permission from us, which means full recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the entire area of Nicosia FIR, highlighting the cooperation of the two countries in defense matters,” Captain Fitiris said.
A group of the Black Sea Fleet, led by Admiral Alexander Vitko, will participate in the exercise, according to the Russian website of the ITAR-TASS. The ‘Landing Ship’, the ‘Vice Admiral Kulakov’ and ‘Novocherkassk’ will also take part, it says.