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Cyprus

Poll: majority would favour granting military facilities to Russia (Update: adds EDEK ‘vindication’)

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet takes off from the Hmeymim air base near Latakia, Syria,

Almost three out of four Cypriots would welcome the provision of military facilities to Russia by Cyprus, according to a poll conducted for Simerini newspaper and published on Sunday.

Over half of those polled islandwide on December 16 and 17, said the government should seek closer ties with Moscow.

The issue of offering military facilities to Russia came up earlier this month when the Russian ambassador said the matter was being discussed by Nicosia and Moscow but this was later denied by the foreign ministries of both countries. Russia is to be offered humanitarian and refuelling facilities such as those already given to France and Germany.

According to the Simerini poll, carried out by the University of Nicosia, 42 per cent said that Cyprus should have equally close relations with the US and with Russia.
Seven out of ten Cypriots were open to offering military facilities to Russian forces fighting against terrorism, with 37 per cent going as far as saying Cyprus should give them a base.

Three out of five said they would feel safer if there was a Russian military presence on the island. Two out of five said they feel less safe in recent months since Britain began bombing the Islamic State in Syria from its RAF base in Cyprus.

Socialist EDEK, which has been pushing the government, along with the  Citizens Alliance to grant Russia military facilities, said on Sunday the poll had vindicated its position on the issue. “In the fight against terrorism and the illegal Islamic state of ISIS we must offer the same military facilities as an ally of France and of Russia,” the party said.

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