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oscow and Nicosia are in negotiations on the possibility of using airports and seaports of Cyprus by Russian warplanes and warships in humanitarian operations and emergencies, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades told TASS in an exclusive interview on Monday ahead of his forthcoming visit to Russia.
Airports and seaports of Cyprus may be available to Russian warplanes and ships in emergency situations and humanitarian operations, Anastasiades told TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman. In fact, the two counties are updating their effective bilateral military agreement.
According to some previous media reports, Russia allegedly intended to create military bases on Cyprus.
Cyprus has denied Russian media reports that it is ready to lease two military bases to Russia.
"There is no question of Russian air or naval military bases on the soil of Cyprus," said Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
Earlier, Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades would make the offer on an official visit to Moscow on 25 February.
Cyprus is in the EU but not in Nato.
The leasing deal would concern an air base near Paphos and a naval base at Limassol, according to Rossiiskaya Gazeta. Russia can already use the bases temporarily.
But Mr Kasoulides dismissed the leasing claim, saying "there has never been any request from Russia about this", the Cyprus News Agency CNA reported.
He said President Anastasiades was referring to "the renewal of a military co-operation agreement with Russia consisting of maintenance of military equipment sold to Cyprus years ago, as well as the purchase of spare parts according to existing contracts".
He added that "as regards the offering of facilities, these are of a purely non-military humanitarian nature, such as the evacuation of Russian civilians from the Middle East if the need arises".
Russian warships can already use the Limassol base for refuelling and the Andreas Papandreou air base for humanitarian missions.