Cyprus wants to shield financial flows with Russia, where it’s the biggest foreign investor, as the US and the European Union ratchet up sanctions in response to President Vladimir Putin’s annexing Crimea from Ukraine.
The island nation, a eurozone member, is urging “dialogue and diplomacy to avoid sliding back to the Cold War,” Sotos Zackheos, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’s special envoy to Russia, said in a telephone interview.
Failure to do so would threaten stability and economic development, he said.
Zackheos added the current sanctions “should not have a strong effect” on Russian investments and deposits in Cyprus, which received an international bailout last year.
“We have a historically strong, friendly relationship with Russia economically and of course no one wants to see that damaged,” Zackheos said from Nicosia.
“This is not a question just of bilateral relations, but of EU-Russia relations.”