Akel’s MEP Giorgos Georgiou abstained during a European Parliament (EP) resolution vote which seeks a tougher response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arguing that it deepens Europe’s ties with Nato.

Of Cyprus’ six MEPs, five voted in favour of the resolution – which demands Ukraine be granted EU candidate status, further provisions of defensive weapons to Ukraine and greater sanctions on Russia – with only Georgiou bucking the trend.

Overall, the resolution passed on Tuesday with 637 votes in favour, 13 against and 26 abstentions.

Georgiou’s abstention stands out as fellow Akel MEP Niyazi Kızılyurek voted in favour, siding with Disy MEPs, a move which drew criticism from former presidential aide Victoras Papadopoulos who on Wednesday said that Georgiou was known for taking the “party line” and, as such, his abstention must be seen as Akel’s official stance on the matter.

But Georgiou defended his abstention from the vote, arguing that the resolution would further embolden Nato – which in his view is “not an agent for peace”.

“Every past experience underscores that Nato is not an agent for peace and that the broader utilisation of weaponry being advocated in the resolution props up war to the detriment of all peoples,” Georgiou said.

He did, however, unequivocally condemn the Russian invasion, saying it is a violation of international law, and called for the immediate withdrawal of troops.

Georgiou reason that the resolution was unbalanced in assigning blame for the failure of the Minsk protocols and does not reference Nato’s eastward expansion as a destabilising factor.