Cyprus not giving up its Russian hardware

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Cyprus will not accept a US request to hand over its Russian-made weapons to Ukraine as it would undermine its defence capabilities, said Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides on Tuesday.

Petrides argued that Cyprus is doing its bit by sending humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine.

Speaking after the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the minister refuted reports that Cyprus is ready to surrender its Russian arsenal at the demand of Washington.

US officials, reportedly, have asked the government whether it is willing to transfer the country’s Russian weapons to Ukraine.

It is claimed the Americans specifically asked for Cypriot anti-aircraft weapons and attack helicopters.

Of particular interest are two types of anti-aircraft systems, the TOR/M1 purchased from Greece in exchange for the S-300 missile system and BUK M-2, including T-80u and BMP3 and the MI-35 helicopter.

The MI-35 helicopters were to be sold to Serbia in a deal that appears to have been put on ice.

According to the paper, if weapons from the National Guard were to be deployed to Ukraine, they would have been replaced with corresponding American weaponry.

However, Petrides conceded the National Guard is facing challenges regarding maintaining its Russian-made armaments in light of the sanctions on Moscow.

He said efforts are underway to procure spare parts from other countries which use similar systems.

The House committee also discussed the issue of western nations selling arms to Turkey.

MPs also touched on the issue of Ankara’s increasingly sophisticated domestic arms industry, most notably its drones.