Cyprus will not provide weapons to Ukraine as it would create gaps in the Republic’s deterrence capabilities, Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides said on Tuesday.
Speaking after the House foreign affairs committee, he explained that Cyprus is already sending humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine.
The meeting came shortly after reports emerged that the US had approached Cyprus, asking that it send its Russian-made weapons to assist Ukraine against the invasion.
Petrides conceded the National Guard is facing challenges as regards the maintenance of its Russian-made armaments in light of the sanctions on Moscow. He said efforts are underway to procure spare parts from other countries which use similar systems.
The meeting also discussed the issue of western nations selling arms to Turkey as well Ankara’s increasingly sophisticated domestic arms industry, most notably its drones – which it has exported to Nato and EU member Poland.
Discussions began with journalists present but due to the “sensitive nature” of the talks the meeting continued behind closed doors.
Main opposition party Akel came out strongly against the US request while ruling Disy said that it will study feasibility of the proposal.
On Tuesday morning, Akel MP Giorgos Koukoumas accused Disy of being the “Nato-est of the Nato-supporters” – saying that anyone who truly cares about the people of Ukraine would not seek to throw fuel on the fire.
“The Cypriot people does not wish to see Cyprus involved in the war and neither do they want to see us send weapons to Ukraine,” Koukoumas said.
He also accused Disy of rushing to satisfy the US demand – a nation, Koukoumas said – which has elevated Turkey’s role in the region as a ‘power of peace’ while at the same time occupying half of Cyprus, noting that Ankara has not imposed sanctions on Moscow.