MOSCOW – Russia’s Embassy said it was not true that direct flights would resume to the occupied Turkish-Cypriot side of Cyprus on the island, Russian airlines banned from European Union countries, including the legitimate Greek-Cypriot side on the south.
Russian planes are prohibited under sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, putting a big dent on the Greek-Cypriot side where there is a big Russian presence and Russian businesses.
Turkey – which has been trying to join the EU since 2005 – refused to go along with the sanctions and has allowed Russian airlines and the Turkish newspaper Millyet said there would again be flights to the occupied part of Cyprus.
That was denied by the Russian Embassy, according to RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, quoting a spokesman as saying that, “Russia’s position on the Cyprus settlement has not changed. Moscow is not conducting negotiations on the opening of direct flights between Russia and northern Cyprus.”
The island has been divided since two unlawful 1974 Russian invasions that had the implicit support of the United States but Russia is trying to steer clear of trouble unless there’s a solution, with Russians preferring to visit and live on the Greek-Cypriot side.
Milliyet had cited “diplomatic sources” as saying direct flights to Turkish-occupied Cyprus would begin Nov. 15 but Greek-Cypriot government sources also said that wasn’t true.
Government sources in Nicosia also told Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros the reports were untrue. “What Milliyet reports about direct flights of passenger planes from Russia to occupied northern Cyprus are not related to reality,” the Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros wrote.
They noted, “The issue has been investigated through diplomatic channels and the claims of direct flights from Russia to the occupied territories are unrealistic.”