THE RUSSIAN MILITARY will now be given full use of a Cypriot airbase and the main port at Limassol.
According to the Ministry of Defence in Nicosia the use of the Andreas Papandreou airbase will be only used for ‘emergency scenarios’ and humanitarian missions, but the move highlights growing co-operation between Russia and Cyprus.
As it stands, a Russian presence in the region is only made possible by the survival of the Assad government, with Moscow still hanging on to their personnel from the naval base in Tartus.
Analysts have long predicted that Russia has been using the velvet glove of diplomacy to gain a military foothold in Cyprus – after the fallout to Russian depositors from the March 2013 bailout soured relations, followed by Russian reluctance to restructure Moscow’s €2.5bn loan to Nicosia.
Last May, three Russian navy warships, which were part of a flotilla sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, docked at the new port of Limassol.
At the time, the Defence Minister said that Cyprus and Russia enjoy historical, long-standing and very close relations, noting that “Russia is a firm supporter of Cyprus in the Security Council of the United Nations as regards our national issue.”
Full article: Russian military get coveted foothold in Cyprus (Famagusta Gazette)