Cyprus Mail

Russia keen to use military bases in Cyprus

Russian ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy

By Angelos Anastasiou

RUSSIA is interested in securing the use of military facilities in Cyprus and is negotiating with the Foreign ministry to reach agreement, Moscow’s ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy said on Wednesday.

Speaking after meeting with Citizens Alliance leader Yiorgos Lillikas, Osadchiy said his country continues to monitor developments with regard to the Cyprus problem and “stands ready to react according to developments”.

The Russia ambassador was referring to a cabinet decision from January 2014 to allow Russia access to the Andreas Papandreou military airbase in Paphos for humanitarian purposes and in emergency situations.

Asked whether Turkey deploying the Barbaros qualified as a development that warranted a reaction, Osadchiy said Russia has urged all sides to work towards overcoming the impasse.

“The Barbaros issue came up, and we discussed it with the Foreign ministry”, he said. “We have urged everyone to help break the deadlock”.

And when asked whether Russia is interested in being granted access to Cyprus’ military facilities, Osadchiy responded affirmatively.

“Moscow is certainly interested, and we are discussing this issue, and our bilateral relations, with the Foreign ministry”, Osadchiy said. “We will sign agreements, whether during President Nicos Anastasiades’ visit to Moscow, or thereafter”.

Anastasiades is scheduled to visit the Russian capital on February 25.

A source at the Foreign ministry said the matter relates to a routine agreement, very similar to others signed with many countries in the international scene.

“This is a multi-layer agreement, not solely of military nature”, the source told the Cyprus Mail. “It includes matters of granting Russia access rights for humanitarian purposes, like the evacuation of civilians.”

Nonetheless, the source said, there is nothing to be announced at this time as negotiations are ongoing.

“Our relations with Russia have traditionally been excellent, and remain so”, the Cyprus Mail was told. “In the context of these relations, which we would like to strengthen, we are engaged in deliberations in an effort to reach agreement, but there is nothing final as of yet”.

The Foreign ministry source confirmed that it is unlikely that this agreement will be signed during Anastasiades’ upcoming visit to Russia.

“But even if not, negotiations will continue and the agreement can always be signed at a later date”, he added.

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