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Cyprus did not oppose any sanctions against Russia says finance minister (update 2)

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides on Friday welcomed the European Commission’s forecasts for the Cypriot economy, viewing them as a validation of the country’s recovery and future prospects.
Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides

Cyprus did not oppose any EU sanctions against Russia, the finance ministry said on Saturday, responding to reports in local and international media suggesting the island was among the EU member states who tried to stop the sanctions.

In a tweet early Saturday, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides wrote that “in the name of EU unity and solidarity to Ukrainian people, Cyprus has NOT objected to ANY EU sanctions including cutting Russia off Swift”.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

In a later tweet, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba referred to Cyprus’ confirmation that the country will not block an EU decision to ban Russia from Swift international payment system.

“We did it. Cyprus confirmed it will not block the decision to ban Russia from Swift. Ukrainian diplomacy keeps working 24/7 to achieve important decisions and protect Ukraine from Russian invaders,” Kuleba posted.

EU leaders responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with economic sanctions on Russia at an emergency summit on Thursday night. Envoys of the EU’s 27 member states also agreed to freeze any European assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The sanctions decided so far did not include the cutting off of the country from the global Swift financial system.

Petrides’ statements came as a protest was held by Ukrainians in Cyprus in Nicosia, who declared that Cyprus, along with Hungary, Italy and Germany, are blocking the adoption of hard EU sanctions against Russia. The demonstration took place at 12pm outside the presidential palace.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nikos Nouris was expected to travel to Brussels on Saturday to attend the extraordinary meeting of interior ministers the following day.

According to a statement, European ministers will discuss how to respond to the situation in Ukraine. They will mainly focus on humanitarian support and refugee reception, external border management and security challenges, visa measures, as well as ways to respond to hybrid threats.

The interior minister returns to Cyprus on Monday afternoon.

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