The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is expected to express its deep concern over the developments in Pyla, according to CyBC’s reporter in New York.

Just hours before the meeting, Russia condemned “any form of violence against UN representatives” – until then Russia had been the final member of the UNSC to hold out on issuing a condemnation for the attacks against UN peacekeepers.

The UNSC convenes at 10pm on Monday – to discuss the matter, among other issues – and has been briefed via videolink by the UN’s special representative in Cyprus Colin Stewart.

Stewart is understood to have discussed Friday’s attack on three UN peacekeepers in the buffer zone, the north’s plans for the road between the mixed village of Pyla and Arsos which sparked the confrontation, and the meetings and communications he held on the subject, as well as the ongoing diplomatic efforts being made.

CyBC cited sources as stating that the UNSC will express its deep concern over the developments in Pyla and that the Turkish Cypriot side’s actions in the buffer zone are counter to its resolutions.

It further stated that the draft, prepared by Britain, will condemn the attack against the peacekeeping force and its vehicles. It is expected to add that, according to international law, attacks targeting UN peacekeepers are criminal.

It is also expected that the UNSC will call on the north to end the construction, while further stressing the need to avoid unilateral or other actions which increase tension.

Just hours before the meeting, Russia condemned any form of violence against UN representatives, after speculation had swirled as it remained the only member of the Security Council not to condemn the Turkish Cypriot infringement into the buffer zone or the assault on UN personnel.

“We have always been against whatever form of violence against UN representatives, be they military, police or political personnel,” Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a response to a question from the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

She added that the incident within the buffer zone in Cyprus is “no exception”.

Asked why Russia had been the only member of the UNSC not to condemn the incident, Zakharova replied that in such delicate matters as those of the Cyprus problem “it is not a race” to issue a response.

The lack of condemnation, until Monday evening, spurred speculation after Russian diplomats in New York blocked a move on Sunday to issue a joint Security Council statement on the matter, saying they were awaiting instructions from Moscow.

Asked why Russia has not yet made a statement on the matter, government deputy spokesperson Doxa Komodromou said “we will not speculate as to the motivations of other nations’ positions on the issue”.

Elsewhere, condemnation has poured in from across the globe, including from UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres, multiple high-level figures within the European Union, and a joint condemnation from the British High Commission and the embassies of France and the United States in Nicosia. In a separate statement China also condemned the incident.

Speaking about the Security Council’s meeting, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said “we expect the UN to respond to the terms of its mandate. At this time, very fine and specific management [of the matter] is required.”

Earlier on Monday, Colin Stewart held a meeting with the north’s ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu on Monday regarding the construction of the road.

According to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen, Monday’s contacts between Unficyp and the Turkish Cypriot side on the road it is attempting to construct in the buffer zone have been described as “the last chance for diplomacy”.

However, Unficyp spokesman Aleem Siddique moved to make reassurances that diplomatic channels had not been exhausted, telling the Cyprus Mail “we are engaging with the Turkish Cypriot side every day.

“We will be discussing the incident which took place in Pyla last week, and working on finding a way forward which is mutually acceptable to all parties. These discussions take place at every level, on a daily basis, and on a whole raft of issues,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting Ertugruloglu insisted the plan for the Arsos-Pylas road will be completed despite the reactions of the UN and the international community.


UN soldiers in the area

The Greek Cypriot mukhtar of Pyla Simos Mytidis also spoke on the issue on Monday afternoon, telling CNA the village’s residents “are worried and feel insecure and complain about the situation”.

He added that relations between the village’s Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot residents had been frayed by the issue, saying “in the cafes where they used to sit at the same table and talk, now each side is sitting alone”.

He confirmed that some work on the section of the road which is located in the north and outside the buffer zone had been carried out on Sunday, but that today no large machinery is working on any part of the road.

“I think they are waiting for instructions from Ankara on how to proceed or whether to proceed,” he said.

Greece’s government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis also made a fresh statement on the matter on Monday, saying “Greece is in full coordination with the Republic of Cyprus and will take all appropriate actions”.

He called the attempt to construct the road “a flagrant violation of the status quo, while the attack on members of Unficyp constitutes an act of contempt for international law”.

Earlier on Monday morning, Aleem Siddique had told CNA there was “no change” on the construction site.

The situation in the area had remained “calm” throughout the weekend after an eruption of violence on Friday saw UN soldiers injured with one being punched in the face and multiple vehicles rendered undriveable as the UN attempted to block access to the buffer zone to stop road construction.