NICOSIA – One of the reasons for Russia’s failure to quickly conquer Ukraine in its invasion is because military funds over the years were stolen to buy mega-yachts on Cyprus, said Russia’s former foreign chief Andrey Kozyrev.
He served President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and has said that President Vladimir Putin overestimated the strength of his military, Russia said to be a super-power, and that the army was ill-equipped against fierce resistance.
On Twitter, Kozyrev ripped into corruption in Russia and said, “The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead,” noted Business Insider.
Cyprus has a big Russian population and is a favorite spot for Russian tourists now unable to come under European Union sanctions prohibiting Russian airlines from the bloc.
And until it ended, a scheme that allowed rich foreigners to buy residency permits and EU passports in return for investments were snapped up by wealthy Russians without being vetted for money laundering or criminal activity or wrongdoing.
Cyprus is such a hot spot for Russians, especially using the island’s banks to hide their cash, that it’s been called Moscow on the Med and was said to have been reluctant to go along with the EU sanctions.