US, NATO Look To Expand Military, Intelligence Infrastructure In Cyprus

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The US and EU are looking to expand their military and intelligence infrastructure in Cyprus.

The US is proactively exploring a military build-up in Cyprus, according to the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova.

Zakharova cited numerous sources who have reported that the US is looking to expand its military presence on Cyprus, not hiding the fact that the effort is aimed at countering Russia’s growing influence in the region in light of the progress in the Syrian operation by the Russian Aerospace Forces.

A delegation of US experts recently inspected military and strategic islands on the island with the aim of setting up a forward deployment base for the US Armed Forces. Reportedly, Washington is actively discussing with Nicosia ways to expand military-technical cooperation.

Zakharova said that Russia has repeatedly pointed out to the leadership of Cyprus that further efforts to militarize the island and draw it into US and NATO plans for the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East would lead to destabilization of Cyprus itself.

“Moscow cannot turn a blind eye to the anti-Russia nature of these plans and, should they materialize, will be forced to take retaliatory action.”

Zakharova’s comments could eb a response to an announcement by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on December 4th. He said he was expecting the US to express interest in taking part in the trilateral energy cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Israel. The US has expressed increased interest in the development of hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation in the region. In addition, it was recently announced that Cyprus would appoint a military attaché in Washington.

In a bid to defuse tensions Cyprus Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides contacted his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, while Cyprus government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that “it was never was our aim, nor is it now, to militarize Cyprus.” They also discussed the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as well as EU-Russia issues and agreed within this context to meet in the next few months.

On December 6th, the Russian Embassy in Israel repeated the remarks by Zakharova:

Later on the same day, Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the Cyprus government was not interested in any sort of military build-up, it was trying to solve the Cyprus problem and get rid of the occupying forces. He also reiterated that Cyprus had agreements with many countries and as part of them granted facilities for humanitarian reasons.

According to Prodromou, it had been reaffirmed that Cyprus has close, friendly relations with Russia. He also added that Cyprus was a member of the EU and no one could dispute this position and the orientation it involved.

Cyprus Mail reported that Russian ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy has openly revaled Moscow’s concerns, issuing warnings that bilateral relations will suffer following frequent meetings he has with Greek Cypriot politicians.

Earlier in December, Osadchiy said that EU sanctions against his country and a Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) crackdown on shell companies had led to the closure of thousands of bank accounts belonging to Russians and the departure of companies from the island.

In addition, Greece and Cyprus are to co-operate on a project to build a joint European Union intelligence school (JEUS). They are to be assisted by other NATO members, the National Herald reported.

The school will be based on Cyprus and led by Greece and is aimed at training agency staff from the EU, in cooperation with national security agencies and NATO. It will also develop new hardware such as drones and electronic warfare technology, the South EU Summit said.

Turkey has provided no response to the news of the project, however it is uncertain if the school would even take off. PESCO ‘launched’ many projects last year, but a number of these have yet to come to fruition.

This comes amid reported Turkish provocations being stepped up in the Aegean and East Mediterranean. Turkey disputes ownership of sovereign waters also claimed by Greece and Turkey and with Turkish warships having tried to stop foreign energy companies from drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus.

These developments are happening during on-going tensions between the US and Turkey, as well as Turkey and the EU over military cooperation. Turkey threatened to expel US and NATO forces from its airbases, amid a row over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems. The US threatened to remove Turkey from the F-35 project. Most recently, on December 5th, Defense News  cited  Heidi Grant, the Air Force’s deputy undersecretary for international affairs who claimed that Pentagon analysis shows that there won’t be a catastrophe if Turkey is forced off the program. However, Turkey may possibly and very likely have a diversification strategy in store for contingency measures.

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  • Tommy Jensen

    I miss the Turkish side of Cyprus and their opinion. Could we end up with a Russian/Turkish base on the Turkish side and a US/Nato base on Greek side? Silly all over.

    One more stupid country in the crossfire because of US global “interests”.
    The independence of Cyprus should instead have been defended by UN and its members.

    • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

      The independence of Cyprus should have been defended by Cyprus and Cyprus alone.
      The UN have shown that they are not worth anything and is just a puppet to the US.

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        Yes it should….

  • so

    FUKUS. The disease that keeps on giving. My penance is that I have to watch what they do and cannot avert my eyes or my heart.

    • occupybacon

      Please suffer for me too, cheers :)

  • Snowglobe

    Well, I hope that they do not store mutations there this time. In 2011 the stockpile that they had left sitting out in the sun blew up and killed 12 people.

    The Cypriots do not seem too smart if they are letting the same idiots back in… or left them operational.

    Video at link.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/cyprus/8629594/Cyprus-explosion-knocks-out-islands-electricity-plant.html

  • Anastasis

    XARAYGH FRIDAY 7 DECEMBER 2018 The government of Cyprus passed yesterday in defense claiming that,
    “No one should or can not be bothered by the fact that Cyprus strives in a balanced way to play a pillar of stability in the region””First of all Cyprus is an independent EU member state and accordingly determines its international relations and its foreign policy, without this affecting or preventing the fact that we have excellent relations with Russia””No attempt to militate in Cyprus, on the contrary, we are trying to resolve the Cyprus issue, which is a problem of occupation and presence of an occupying army, to leave the army we want””Our country’s foreign policy choices belong to its government and to the President of the Republic and it is clear that Cyprus as an EU member state has EU policy””The Cypriot Foreign Minister has stated that the Republic of Cyprus has friendly, close relations with Russia, the future exchange of visits has been discussed. These relations are stable and maintained “”No one should or can not be bothered by the fact that Cyprus is trying in a balanced way to play a pillar of stability in the region, with very close relations with both Israel and the Palestinians, with Egypt, with Jordan, with the Arab countries in the region. ”
    «

  • Jesus

    US and NATO are always making moves that are meaningless and past their purpose, Eastern and Central Mediteranean sea is a Russian Lake, Russia having easy access from the Black Sea, and being able to use its Syrian A2AD network along with Egyptian airbases and possibly some Lybian networks as well to project air power across the Mediteranean. Algeria is a well established client state of Russia, most of Northern Africa is allied with Russia.