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In the war in Ukraine, Russia is losing another ally: fierce opposition from Cyprus

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The pro-Russian front is losing parts. The new Cypriot president, Nikos Christodoulides, has openly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in his first interview with foreign television. He told Greece’s ERT television that opposing what Russia calls a “special operation” puts us “on the right side of history”. Cyprus had such close relations with the Kremlin before the invasion, that it was nicknamed the “Moscow of the Mediterranean”. Limassol, the island’s second city, has been home to a thriving Russian community and businesses linked to allies of President Vladimir Putin. For this reason, the former president, Nikos Anastasiades, has been reticent about publicly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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And now Christodoulides is doing it, drawing parallels with the Turkish invasion of part of the island in 1974. “As a country that experienced something similar, we could not have a different position,” he emphasized. A member country of the European Union, Cyprus is not part of NATO. A few hours before the interview, the Russian ambassador to Cyprus, Murat Zyazikov, announced that bilateral relations remain strong, despite “temporary political adventures”. The Guardian described Zyazikov as a former KGB agent and close ally of Putin. But the atmosphere seems to have changed now in Cyprus.

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