NICOSIA – Although Cyprus has ended a scandal-scarred residency permit giving wealthy investors European Union passports without checking for criminality or money-laundering, Russians can still get one through dual citizenship, a practice that Ukraine wants ended over being invaded.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also urged Cyprus, traditionally friendly to Russia and Russians who make up a big part of the investment community and businesses, to close its ports to all Russian ships, said Reuters.
Speaking to the Parliament in an online address, he showed a video of atrocities he said were committed by invading Russian forces which the news agency couldn’t verify for accuracy, as he appealed to them for aid.
Lawmakers, who were joined by President Nicos Anastasiades, fell silent as the images were broadcast. Members of Cyprus Communist party AKEL refused to attend but didn’t say if it was over support for the invasion.
“Please, close all Cyprus ports to all Russian ships. This must be a decision taken in conjunction with the European Union,” Zelenskiy said via an interpreter.
Russia has denied targeting civilians in what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, denying war.
Zelenskiy said measures could also include ending the dual-citizenship scheme. Some 2,886 wealthy Russians had already gotten their Cypriot EU passports under the former residency program.
Cypriot government sources not named told Reuters it would revoke citizenship from four people, among more than 800 subject to sanctions by the European Union and considered to have close ties to Russia’s government but didn’t name them.