President Nicos Anastasiades took part in a teleconference of EU leaders on Monday chaired by president of the European Council Charles Michel, centred on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

With a sixth package of EU sanctions on Russia still being debated, the meeting was called ahead of next week’s session in Brussels on May 30 and 31.

Anastasiades reiterated the importance of EU unity in light of Russia’s invasion – supporting measures which could facilitate the end of the war – but stressed that sanctions must be targeted so as not to disproportionately harm member states.

The president also touched on REPowerEU – a commission proposal to further energy independence from Russia – stating that Cyprus has an important role to play in achieving those aims. Anastasiades said the government supports diversification and the various methods and technologies which could lead towards greater energy resilience, such as the green transition.

Defence and security concerns were also raised at the meeting, where Anastasiades confirmed his support for military autonomy for the bloc – which would require closer cooperation between member states.