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Russia, Cyprus sign military cooperation agreement

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin shake hands as they exchange documents during a signing ceremony at the Novo-Ogaryovo presidential residence outside the capital, Moscow, on February 25, 2015. (AFP photo)

Russia and Cyprus have signed a military cooperation deal, under which Russian navy ships will be permitted to make regular port calls at the island country.

The document was signed following talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his visiting Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in the capital city of Moscow on Wednesday.

Putin said after the negotiations that the agreement would mainly concern Russian navy ships engaged in international counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts. 

The Russian president also stressed that military cooperation between Moscow and Nicosia is not directed against any third party.

During his three-day visit to Russia, which started on Wednesday, the Cypriot president is accompanied by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides; Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis; and government spokesman, Nicos Christodoulides.

Ahead of talks with Putin, the Cypriot president noted that the deal was aimed at renewing a previous agreement between the two countries, according to which Russia would service military equipment purchased by Cyprus.

The new deal reportedly allows Russian navy ships to use ports in Cyprus to replenish supplies and undergo maintenance.

However, Britain's High Commissioner in Cyprus, Ric Todd, has warned that offering military facilities to Moscow contradicts the European Union policies on Russia.

The Moscow-Nicosia agreement came as the Russian Federation has been hit with a series of sanctions by the United States and the EU over the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin categorically denies the allegation.

Touching on the bans, the Cypriot president told Russian News Agency, TASS, on Tuesday that the measures have further complicated the economic situation in many European countries.

"Sanctions will only create wider problems for the whole European Union. It turns out that these sanctions will be paid for by the people from the smallest of the countries," Anastasiades said. 


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