Sanctions on Russia may ‘destroy Cyprus economy’

Economic sanctions by Europe against Russia “would destroy Cyprus’s economy,” Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides (photo) said in a German newspaper interview on Wednesday.

“There are very strong economic ties between Cyprus and Russia. If sanctions are really necessary, then every member state should decide for itself whether to take part,” Kasoulides said.

“However the measures look, we must not harm ourselves,” he added.

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to expand the list of those hit with sanctions for their role in the Ukraine crisis but stopped short of harsher measures ahead of a Geneva meeting of top EU, US, Russian and Ukrainian officials this week.

Current sanctions stop short of outright economic measures, which come under a third phase of action the EU agreed earlier this year.