Four additional UK Typhoon jets have landed in RAF Akrotiri as part of Britain’s Nato contribution amid the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The four fighter jets will shortly begin to patrol the skies with Nato allies in Eastern Europe, according to a press release from the British bases on Thursday.
It further stated that HMS Trent – a UK Warship – has already begun conducting patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean sea alongside Canada, Italy, Spain and Turkey.
HMS Diamond is preparing to set sail in the coming days for the Eastern Mediterranean.
The arrival of the fighter planes angered left-wing Akel, which spoke of a provocation by the UK to Cyprus and its people, and a threat to the island’s security.
“Akel calls on the government to send a clear message to the British government that it does not consent to the use of Cypriot territory for Nato’s aggressive purposes,” the party said in a written statement.
The people of Cyprus do not want the country involved in any way in the dangerous tension in Eastern Europe and the warmongering designs of Nato to surround Russia, just as it does not want foreign bases on our island, it added.
Tensions between Russia and the West have risen sharply in recent weeks amid accusations that a build up of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border are a precursor to a possible invasion.
Russia said this week it was pulling back some troops from areas adjacent to Ukraine after concluding exercises but Kyiv said it had seen no evidence of that and the United States said it suspected Moscow has in fact increased its presence by as many as 7,000 troops.
Meanwhile, Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine accused government forces on Thursday of opening fire on their territory four times in the past 24 hours and said they were trying to establish if anyone had been hurt or killed.
It was not immediately clear how serious the incidents were and there was no immediate reaction from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has been monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine but has pulled out some of its monitors in recent days.