Russia can’t expect Cyprus to be the EU’s bad boy

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President Nicos Anastasiades said that Russia could not expect Cyprus to break away from the EU’s collective decisions on sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine.

The President was asked to comment on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement that the governments of Cyprus and Greece have undergone a “transformation” in their attitude toward Moscow.

“I want to point out that when the otherwise friendly country – Russia – forced us to follow the collective decisions of the EU, it could not have expected that we could be the stigma of Europe, that is, those who disagree with the collectively decided measures,” said Anastasiades.

He added: “I want to maintain the friendly relations we had with Russia and the gratitude, of course, for the longstanding position that Russia has maintained and maintains as regards the Cyprus issue and the understanding from Russia’s side that there are no options when international law is violated”.

Lavrov cryptically talked about “transformations” of the leaderships of Cyprus and Greece, but also of Italy, which Russia “took note of”, even though it had traditional close relations with these countries.

He said that Russia has “always been very close friends with the Greeks and the Cypriots, and those transformations that took place with the leaderships of these countries, it is natural that we pointed them out, we took note of them.”

This suggests they may be some form of repercussions for Cyprus, which has suffered from imposing sanctions on Russia and those who support the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cyprus shipping has been impacted, as have local Russian businesses and the key tourism sector.