Russia and on 25 February 2015 signed an agreement to give Russian navy ships access to Cypriot ports in the Mediterranean Sea. Russian ships that will dock at Cypriot ports would mostly be used in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts.
The agreement was signed in Moscow after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
The military deal also included the possibility of Russia using an air base on Cyprus for humanitarian relief missions.
Why the deal is important for Russia?
It would end the search of Russia for building a base in Mediterranean Sea since it had lost a military base on Syria’s Coast during fighting between anti-government rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Further, in the wake of plummeting of ties between Russia and the West over Ukraine crisis, Russia has sought to strengthen ties with a number of individual EU members including Cyprus, Hungary and Greece.
The relations between Russia and Cyprus
Cyprus is heavily dependent on Russian investment and has been a destination for cash from Russia. Earlier in the last week of February 2015, Russia restructured a 2.5 billion euro (2.8 billion US dollars) loan to Cyprus it signed in 2011. The restructuring included cutting the annual interest rate to 2.5 percent from 4.5 percent and extending the redemption period to 2018-2021.
According to Global Financial Integrity, illicit money flows from Russia to Cyprus amounted to at least 211.5 billion US dollars during the period 1994 – 2011.
Who: Russia and Cyprus
Why: 25 February 2015