With Cyprus hoping that the United States will take part in expected energy deals with Greece and Israel, Russia warned it shouldn’t extend to a greater American military build-up on the divided island where Turkey has unlawfully occupied the northern third since a 1974 invasion.
Speaking to journalists, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow “will have to take response measures in case of a military build-up by the US in Cyprus,” Kathimerini Cyprus said, without specifying what that would be.
Zakharova said that “the information is coming from different sources about Washington’s active actions to ensure the possibility of building up its military presence in Cyprus for countering the growing Russian influence in the region in light of the successful implementation of the operation of the Russian Aerospace Force in Syria.”
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, speaking at an Energy Symposium in Nicosia, said that, “I attribute particular importance in the interest shown on the part of the US to take part in the trilateral cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel,” with Turkey trying to keep foreign energy companies, including America’s ExxonMobil, from drilling for oil and gas.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, Zakharova also said that “the further militarization of the island and its involvement in the implementation of American and NATO plans will inevitably lead to dangerous and destabilizing consequences for Cyprus itself.”
She added that, “Moscow cannot but take into consideration the anti-Russian background of these schemes,” although Anastasiades has been keen to consider closer dealings with Russia and the island is a haven for deposits from wealthy Russians.