NewsLocalCyprus may consider sending weapons to Ukraine, Spokesman tells NYT

Cyprus may consider sending weapons to Ukraine, Spokesman tells NYT

Cyprus “would be ready to consider” the transfer of some of the weapons and its ammunition to Ukraine if “replaced with another military apparatus of equal power and capabilities” government spokesman Marios Pelekanos, told the New York Times newspaper.

In a comprehensive report on the supply of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, the US newspaper referred to lifting the arms embargo by the Biden Administration, allowing Cyprus to buy American weapons.

A move, the newspaper noted, that was several years in the making and broadly intended to pull Cyprus away from Russian influence.

A US official told the NYT that Cyprus was now a potential option as a supplier to Ukraine.

The article also noted that the lifting of the embargo constitutes an important step toward strengthening bonds with NATO and the reinforcement of security in the eastern Mediterranean, something that as the article stressed, does not mean that Cyprus is ready to send its Russian weapons to Ukraine.

“Given the serious threats for security launched by the Turkish occupation forces on a daily basis, the current security architecture of Cyprus must remain intact,” Marios Pelekanos told the NYT.

The article also pointed out that Cyprus had been under a US arms embargo for 35 years, imposed to help tamp down tensions after a conflict left the island divided.

At that time, Cyprus turned to the Soviet Union and then Russia for weapons and military equipment. Today its stockpile of at least 10 Tor and Buk missile systems that can down Russian aircraft, drones, and cruise missiles could provide a bonanza for an embattled Ukrainian army.

But the Cypriot government has made clear it wants new and better replacements, something that could antagonize Turkey and reignite an arms race in the still unresolved conflict.

“The lifting of the arms embargo would also allow other Western nations to quickly transfer their American-made weapons to Cyprus without first obtaining approval from Washington,” Bradley Bowman, a former US Army officer, and senior military expert at FDD, said.

That, he added, could replenish Cyprus’s arsenals with newer, NATO-compatible systems if it transferred its post-Soviet arms and ammunition to Ukraine.

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