Russian S-200 Missile Explodes Northeast of Lefkosa in North Cyprus

Russian S-200 Missile Explodes Northeast of Lefkosa in North CyprusAccording to Reuters (1.7.2019) a suspected Russian S-200 missile landed north of Lefkosa in North Cyprus early this morning. Currently there are no reports of casualties.

The explosion occurred around 1 a.m. (2200 GMT Sunday) in the region of Vouno, 20 kms (12 miles) northeast of Lefkosa, with the impact being heard for miles around and setting the hills on fire.

Mustafa Akinci, the North Cyprus President, linked the incident to military operations in the Middle East but further investigations were underway by the military to establish what it was, he said.

“It is evident it is not something stemming from our soil … It is one of the bad sides of the war in the region falling into our country,” he said.

Cyprus is close to Syria. Israeli warplanes fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts overnight in an attack that killed at least four civilians and wounded another 21.

If verified, it would be the first time that Cyprus has been caught in the crosshairs of military operations in the Middle East despite its proximity to the region.

Officials were studying debris at the crash site, said Kudret Ozersay, the foreign minister of Northern Cyprus. He said it was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

“Initial findings indicate the object that caused the explosion was either an aircraft carrying explosives or a direct explosive (missile). The writings and signs on the debris will allow us to understand exactly what happened soon,” Ozersay said.

A Greek Cypriot military analyst, Andreas Pentaras, said the debris suggested it was a Russian-made S-200 missile.

“An assessment from the pictures made public shows the base of its wings. It has Russian writing on it, so it suggests it is Russian made. Syria uses Russian-made missiles, so a not-so-safe assessment would be it was .. an S-200 (missile),” Pentaras, a retired army general, told Sigma TV in Cyprus.

Jamming technology could have diverted the missile, he said.

Residents told Cypriot media they saw a light in the sky then three loud explosions were heard for miles around. Vouno is a small village in the foothills of a mountain range rimming northern Cyprus. Authorities evacuated some homes.

Source: Reuters

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