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Cyprus and Russia reconfirm bilateral relations

The meeting of the two delegations at the foreign ministry

The foreign ministry said on Friday that relations with Russia were“excellent”, following a meeting between the foreign ministry’s permanent secretary, Minas Hadjimichael, and Russia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Alexander Grushko.

“During the consultations the bilateral relations between the two countries was reviewed and their excellent level was reconfirmed, as well as the cooperation in the context of international organisations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.

Hadjimichael informed Grushko on recent developments on the Cyprus problem and thanked Russia for its long-standing support. Particular reference was made to the process for the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force`s mandate in Cyprus expected to take place in January.
Grushko met earlier with Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides.

Earlier in the month, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow would respond in case of a military build-up by the US in Cyprus, warning that such a move would “inevitably lead to dangerous and destabilising consequences” for the island.

Russian ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy then spoke out claiming that the comments by Zakharova mainly concerned the US and not Cyprus, though Moscow had clearly said it had repeatedly told the leadership of Cyprus of its position.

After decades of close ties, relations with Moscow have become strained over the past two years in several respects due to tighter controls in the financial sector from US sanctions, and the Bill Browder case, in conjunction with international attitudes towards Moscow due to its involvement in Syria, the Skripal poisoning case in the UK, and alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 US election, all of which have not left Cyprus’ relations with Russia untouched.

Thousands of Russians live in Cyprus and some have purchased controversial ‘golden visas’. Russia is also the island’s second-biggest tourism source.

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