Cyprus donates €2.5 mln to Greek Air Force

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President Nicos Anastasiades announced Wednesday that Cyprus would donate €2.5 mln to the Hellenic Air Force as a gesture of solidarity after two Greek fighter pilots died when their Phantom jet crashed.

“As a sign of solidarity with the Hellenic Republic and the Greek people, the Cypriot government has decided to contribute €2.5 mln”, Anastasiades said.

He explained that the Greek government would decide how to allocate some of this donation to the Air Force while the remainder would be dedicated to the memory of the brave pilots.

The airmen had reportedly issued a distress signal and were in the process of abandoning the aircraft when it went down over the Ionian Sea during an exercise on Monday.

President Anastasiades, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, visited Mati –an area on the east coast of Greece’s Attica region affected by devastating fires in 2018– to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a social housing complex and park to be built with the contribution of Cyprus.

On Cyprus’ donation for the projects in Mati, Anastasiades underlined this was also a gesture of solidarity with Greece, “so supportive to us in critical times.”

€1 mln donated by Cypriot citizens and businesses will be used to create the park, and €10 mln provided by Cyprus will be invested in the construction of ten buildings of social housing, each with 14 apartments.

The blazes northeast of Athens killed 104 people. It led to charges against 24 people, including the unnamed man who started them by burning brush and former government and fire department officials.

Hundreds of people saw their homes go up in flames in the fires that year that spread rapidly and saw survivors in Mati escape into the sea, but others were trapped in their cars and burned to death.

Anastasiades said his presence in Greece during these last days of his presidential term is greatly emotional.

“Even after the Presidency, I will continue to fight for peace, freedom of our country, and social justice.”