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Russia’s military build-up claims ‘absurd,’ State Department says

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

The US State Department rejected as absurd, Russian suggestions of a military build-up in Cyprus, accompanied by a threat to retaliate.

A State Department spokesperson said on Thursday that “in November the United States and Cyprus signed a non-binding statement of intent expressing both countries’ desire to explore opportunities to deepen bilateral security cooperation on a wide range of issues including counterterrorism, disaster response, cyber security, and anti-money laundering.”

“The Russian portrayal of this signing as plans for a “military build-up” is characteristically absurd,” the spokesperson added.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said a US delegation had inspected potential sites for bases in the region and that Washington was engaged in intensive talks with Nicosia on expanding military cooperation.

“It [Cyprus] is being drawn into US and Nato plans in the eastern Mediterranean,” she added. “In Moscow we can’t ignore the anti-Russian element in these [US] plans and in the event that they are implemented we will be forced to take countermeasures.”

“The further militarisation of the island and its involvement in the implementation of American and Nato plans will inevitably lead to dangerous and destabilising consequences for Cyprus itself,” she said.

“We have repeatedly pointed [this] out to the leadership of Cyprus … Moscow cannot but take into consideration the anti-Russian background of these schemes. We will have to take response measures in case of their implementation.”

 

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