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Russia wants an air base in Cyprus

22 August 2013 / 20:08:37  GRReporter
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Russia is pressing the Cypriot government for an air base on the island, but President Nikos Anastasiadis is not willing to give it to them. According to the Cypriot media the Kremlin is eyeing the "Andreas Papandreou" air base near Paphos, where Moscow wants to install fighter jets and reconnaissance aircraft.

Military men claimed that the base would provide a privileged position of Russia in the Mediterranean Sea. Germany and France have also had claims about the same location. Currently, there is only one foreign military air base In Cyprus - in Episkopi which belongs to the UK and is managed by the Royal Air Forces.

The Russian request has been officially submitted to the Cypriot government, which is in no hurry to respond immediately and is quite sceptical about the issue. The official answer is to be given in the autumn, when Nikos Anastasiadis’s visit to Moscow is expected.

Cyprus is in a delicate position, since it has already volunteered to join the NATO programme "Partnership for Peace". The previous government of communist president Dimitris Christofias categorically refused to apply for the taking part in the programme and the Greek government has supported in all international forums the current government’s initiative for closer contacts with NATO.

Traditionally, Nicosia has facilitated Russian ships for years as they pass through the port of Limassol, since the Russian navy has virtually no base in the Mediterranean, following the dramatic events in Syria. Diplomatic sources in Nicosia highlighted that the Cypriot government has not forgotten Moscow’s position during the Cyprus crisis and the Russian request will be considered very carefully. 

Tags: Cyprus Russia Air Force base fighter jets reconnaissance planes Paphos the Mediterranean Sea
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