Greek Cypriot Government Defies Syrian EU Arms Embargo

A Russian cargo ship, the MS Chariot, carrying four containers packed with 60 tonnes of ammunition for AK-47s and for rocket launchers destined for the Syrian government was somehow allowed to leave Limmasol despite the fact that Cyprus, as an EU member, was supposed to seize the cargo. The weapons breached the EU’s strict embargo on military supplies to the Syrian regime. This appears to be further evidence of South Cyprus’s unwillingness to displease Russia in much the way that a court in the south bailed Christopher Metsos, the alleged leader of a Russian spy exposed in the US, only for Metsos to escape.

Could this be anything to do with Russia’s £2.1bn loan to bail out the South’s economy or the fact that it has been an opponent of the TRNC or even the fact that it is a Communist government currently in the South?

According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, “more than 25% of bank deposits and about one-third of foreign investments come from Russia.”

Of course the South’s government deny that money laundering is involved but Hubert Faustmann, associate professor of European studies at Nicosia University, argues otherwise. “We are talking about Russian money laundered through Cyprus. The Russian mafia uses Cyprus extensively. This is why Russia has no interest in Cyprus going down economically.”

The South’s president, Demetris Christofias, heads the communist Akel party. He is a fluent Russian speaker, educated Moscow and has a “passion for Nato-bashing”.

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