Kasoulides denies reports of Russian bases in Cyprus

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has denied reports that there would be a Russian naval and airbase on Cyprus.

Speaking on the side-lines of the Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels, he added that

“… there has never been any request from Russia about this”.

Kassoulides went on to say that “what President Nicos Anastasiades referred to, in a recent interview, was the renewal of a military cooperation agreement with Russia consisting of maintenance of military equipment sold to Cyprus years ago, as well as the purchase of spare parts according to existing contracts”.

However, last week it was reported that Moscow is interested in a potential agreement with Cyprus for military facilitation on the island, the Russian Ambassador in Nicosia Stanislav Osadchiy confirmed.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Osadchiy said that at the present stage, Moscow’s consultations with the Cypriot Foreign Ministry concern the preparation of bilateral agreements to be signed during Anastasiades’ visit.

Last year the Russian military were given full use of a South Cyprus airbase and the port of Limassol.

Highlighting increasing co-operation between Russia and South Cyprus, in January 2014, the Ministry of Defence in Nicosia said the use of the Andreas Papandreou airbase would be only used for ‘emergency scenarios’ and humanitarian missions.

Currently, a Russian naval presence in the region is only made possible by the survival of the Assad government, as Moscow still keeps its personnel at the naval base in Tartus.

Source Famagusta Gazette

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