President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Cyprus condemns “any actions which violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent country”.
Speaking from EXPO 2020 in Dubai, the President told reporters: “It is with great disappointment that we are witnessing the violation of international law.
“We cannot but as a country condemn actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent country”.
Anastasiades said that he would like to believe that the conflict in Ukraine can be resolved through dialogue rather than force.
He said the government is following developments with grave concern over the escalation of military operations.
Anastasiades tweeted, “respect for the borders of territorial sovereignty and integrity is a non-negotiable principle”.
In his statement from Dubai, the President said: “In light of recent developments, I will be making every effort to participate at the extraordinary European Council meeting on Thursday night (9 pm).
The EUCO will be meeting in Brussels, with European Union leaders set to discuss harsher sanctions on Russia.
Anastasiades said he is “making every effort” to travel to Brussels to attend the meeting; European Union leaders are expected to discuss tougher sanctions on Russia.
Josep Borrel, the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy head, said this will be “the harshest package of sanctions we have ever implemented”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard across the country and its foreign minister warning a “full-scale invasion” was underway.
Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast in the early hours on Thursday.
This comes after failed efforts of intense diplomacy, and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter Putin, who had massed between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine.
Cyprus is a close friend of Russia, but as the only EU country with occupation troops on its soil, Nicosia has defended Ukraine’s independence.