Russia says ‘no issue’ with direct flights to north

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Russian Ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy has assured Nicosia there are no plans by Moscow to conduct direct flights to the Turkish-occupied north.

He told Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Kornelios Korneliou that operating such flights was not on the agenda, as reported by Turkish daily Milliyet.

“After the story was published in Milliyet, we took action in Nicosia and Moscow,” Korneliou told the Cyprus News Agency.

He said the Russian side assured that the information published by the newspaper was “false” and that its stance on the Cyprus problem remains unchanged.

“However, we deemed that it was appropriate to call the Russian Ambassador to the Ministry (Wednesday) to receive assurances at a higher level,” Korneliou said.

President, Nicos Anastasiades was to clarify the issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York. Still, that meeting was cancelled after Moscow declared new steps in its invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Milliyet, the first flight will be on November 15, the anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence of the breakaway state in the north and the day the revamped Tymbou (Ercan) airport will be inaugurated.

The airport is deemed an illegal point of entry into the Republic of Cyprus.

It said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be on the first flight from Russia, claiming the development as a diplomatic victory for the north and Turkey.

Korneliou said that some circles might see opportunities created by the current situation, the sanctions imposed on Russia and Turkey’s closer ties with Moscow.

Osadchiy, whose term of office in Cyprus is now ending, will leave the island at the weekend.

Former KGB stalwart Murat Zyazikov, a former President of the Russian Republic of Ingushetia, has been appointed to replace him.