Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades announced that the country is ready to host Russian aviation and naval bases. The official agreement on military cooperation between the two nations is expected be signed on February 25, 2015.
“There is an old [defense] 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,” Nicos Anastasiades said. “Cyprus and Russia have traditionally had good relations, and this is not subject to change.”
Notably, 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 the actions in Ukraine.
And just like Greece has recently caused a stir by complicating the process of extending sanctions on Russia, Cyprus, too, just voiced some opposition to the additional sanctions on Russia, adding that many EU members share that opinion.
“We want to avoid further deterioration of relations between Russia and the European Union,” the Cypriot president reportedly said.
As for the EU officials, this agreement between Cyprus and Russia is “yet another red flag for the EU”.
Presumably, the Russian Air Force will use the airbase “Andreas Papandreou,” along with the international airport of Paphos in the southwest of the island, approximately 50 kilometers from the air base of the British Royal Air Force “Akrotiri.” Additionally, the Russian navy will be able to permanently use the base of Limassol, according to.
“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.
Russia made some major moves in the Mediterranean recently – in mid-January, Russia announced that it will shift all its natural gas flows to Europe via Turkey, instead of Ukraine.
“Our European partners have been informed of this and now their task is to create the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the Greek and Turkish border,” the head of Gazprom Alexei Miller said in a statement.