Welcoming Russian Navy to Cyprus Should Be a Violation of EU Law

von Dimitry Kochenov

On Sunday Cypriot and Russian newspapers reported (under “local news”) that the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation are in discussion of a possibility of granting the Russian military access to the bases on the island of Cyprus. There is no mistake: the news is coming from the Republic, not from the TRNC.

As a sovereign state, Cyprus is of course entitled to welcome the Russians, one might think – even if Russians tend to wear green uniforms without any insignia and bury their dead soldiers like lepers or thieves, in secrecy. Nicaragua and Nauru – not even Belarus – recognise the sovereignty of the Russian-made Abkhazia and Northern Ossetia, where, just like in Crimea, Russian soldiers and sailors were stationed. Even if Cyprus is probably right not to be concerned with the prospect of becoming a new Crimea – not a direct possibility, indeed, for a country which does not control half of its territory already – it should probably be more careful in choosing its allies – when Russians had some money, they still refused, if one remembers well, to bail Cyprus out, as Chancellor Merkel is said to have once proposed. Moreover, as ECtHR case-law unquestionably points out, Russian military and thugs, just as the Turks in Cyprus, play an identical role in bringing about human rights violations. It has been reported that 50.000 have been killed in Ukraine already – hundreds of EU citizens from the Malaysia Airlines flight included.

In legal terms, however, there is an important difference between Cyprus and other bankrupt pro-Russian countries in need of military bases, like Tajikistan or Armenia, for instance. The Republic of Cyprus is a Member State of the European Union (the part not under its control included). Membership comes with responsibilities and an expectation of faithfulness to the acquis and the values the EU stands for. It should not be taken lightly ...

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