Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has announced that his country is prepared to host Russian aviation and naval bases. It is expected that the official agreement on military cooperation between both countries will be signed on 25th February, 2015, according to ‘Lenta.ru’.
“There is an old [defence] agreement, which should be renewed as is. At the same time, some additional services will be provided in the same way as we do with other countries, such as, for example, with France and Germany,” Anastasiades said. “Cyprus and Russia have traditionally had good relations, and this is not subject to change.”
The president’s announcement comes after Russia expressed interest in having a military base in Cyprus in late January, according to the ‘Global Post’ and ‘Greek Reporter’.
The report points out that South Cyprus is one of the 28-member states in the EU, which have been imposing sanctions on Russia over the past year in response to its actions in Ukraine.
Recently South Cyprus declared its opposition to extra sanctions on Russia, claiming that some other EU countries were in agreement.
“We want to avoid further deterioration of relations between Russia and the European Union,” Anastasiades reportedly said.
It is presumed that the Russian Air Force will use the Andreas Papandreou airbase, along with Paphos in the south-west of the island, approximately 50 kilometres from Britain’s Akrotiri air base. In addition, the Russian navy will be able to permanently use the base of Limassol, according to ‘Lenta.Ru.’.
“The Limassol port borders on the British air base of Akrotiri which serves NATO operations and is also an important hub in the electronic military surveillance system of the alliance,” according to the ‘Global Post’.
The ‘Business Insider’ comments that, given Russia and Cyprus’ shady economic relationship over the last two decades (ever since the fall of the USSR), perhaps this move isn’t all that surprising.
Source Business Insider