By Constantinos Psillides
RUSSIAN businesses may withdraw their assets from Cyprus if the state imposes sanctions, Russia’s ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy, said in an interview on Mega TV.
The diplomat expressed Russia’s displeasure over EU sanctions that followed the Crimea crisis when the EU froze assets and imposed visa bans on various Russian businessmen and members of the Russian government. The EU is considering imposing stricter sanctions, which would hurt the EU as much as they hurt Russia, Osadchiy said.
The ambassador warned that there was a chance that Russian companies that use Cyprus as a base for their operations could withdraw their assets and move back to Russia if Cyprus imposes the EU-approved sanctions.
Asked what Russia’s response would be if stricter sanctions were decided by the EU, Osadchiy said that the nature of the response will depend on the nature of the sanctions. The Russian ambassador said that imposing sanctions is a double-edge sword since it will hurt Russia but it will also affect the EU.
The ambassador also expressed his displeasure regarding the role the US was playing in solving the Cyprus problem. When asked if he was bothered by the US involvement, he said “yes”, adding that “if Nicosia is OK with the US involvement, then it’s OK by us”.
The Russian diplomat said that many Russian businesses stayed in Cyprus after the haircut on deposits last year, due mainly to the good relationship the two countries enjoyed over the years.
Osadchiy also noted the exclusion of Russian based companies, when it came to exploiting the natural gas reserves, adding that he hoped that it wasn’t deliberate.