The Republic of Cyprus will be represented by the Greek premier during Thursday’s emergency European Council summit on Ukraine after the Cypriot government said President Nicos Anastasiades had a speaking engagement in Dubai.
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European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday called an emergency summit to discuss the situation in Ukraine, after the Russian military carried out strikes against military targets in that country.
Michel tweeted Wednesday afternoon about the in-person meeting scheduled for Thursday evening at 8pm, saying “the use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century.”
Things did not go smoothly for the president after a meeting with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi at the palace in the UAE capital was said to have been canceled due to the crisis in Ukraine
Anastasiades, who is currently leading a Cypriot delegation to the United Arab Emirates, spoke with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis according to the Cyprus News Agency, with the president asking the premier to represent the island in Brussels.
The special European Council will discuss the latest developments related to Ukraine and Russia, said Michel, while Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Moscow of carrying out “a war of aggression” and called on the world to “stop Putin.”
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said Kiev did not represent the country's constituent parts, referring to two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk that declared autonomy in 2014 with the Russian President Vladimir Putin moving this week to recognize them as independent.
Putin says diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute have failed and argued that Moscow was taking “decisive and immediate action" to "demilitarize" and "de-Nazify" that country.
But the West fears a full-scale invasion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressing the nation Wednesday night and saying Putin had ordered an invasion of his country and warning that if Russia attacks, "you will see our faces, not our backs."
Anastasiades made no statement from the UAE on the situation but deputy government spokeswoman Niovi Parisinou said the president had spoken with Michel and authorized Mitsotakis to represent Cyprus at the meeting in Brussels.
Parisinou pointed out that Anastasiades had a speaking engagement during EXPO 2020, a global business global forum which had been rescheduled due to the pandemic, with the Cypriot president expected to address a pavilion event on Cyprus.
But following previous pandemic delays things did not go smoothly for the president after a meeting with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi at the palace in the UAE capital was said to have been canceled due to the crisis in Ukraine.
An official announcement said Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had canceled the meeting with Anastasiades, who traveled to the UAE with ministers of energy, transport, defense, agriculture and the deputy minister of tourism to hold bilateral meetings.