Reports of an earthquake felt along the western coast of Cyprus on Tuesday were quickly dismissed by officials, who said no seismic activity had been picked up by instruments despite residents saying they heard a noise shaking their windows.
Local media said residents in parts of Paphos reported a noise that felt like an earthquake on Tuesday late afternoon.
An official from the state's Geological Survey Department posted a tweet about an hour later, saying "the incident today around 5:45pm with noise and light shaking is not associated with an earthquake."
Reports later emerged that four British fighter jets returned to base at Akrotiri after patrolling skies as part of a NATO response to war in Ukraine, with Sigma reporter Marios Ignatiou attributing the noise to the Eurofighter Typhoons.
The incident comes just weeks after Russia used hypersonic missiles on March 18 to destroy a Ukrainian military underground depot containing missiles and aviation ammunition.
Washington announced on Tuesday that it had successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile two weeks earlier but kept it secret to prevent an escalation of tensions with Russia
Military analysts at the time said Russia's Kinzhal aeroballistics missile system was overkill for such a task, arguing there was no reason to use a super extensive weapon that no known defense system could intercept.
But this week it emerged that the United States had secretly tested a hypersonic missile also in mid-March, although the exact date was not made known to the public.
Washington announced on Tuesday that it had successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile two weeks earlier. US President Joe Biden reportedly wanted to keep it secret in order to prevent an escalation of tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine, US media said.
Biden also announced on Tuesday that the US, UK, and Australia will co-operate on the development of hypersonic weapons.
Unlike intercontinental ballistic missiles that reach fast speeds but travel in a predictable path, hypersonic missiles are maneuverable while travelling beyond Mach 5, or five times faster than the speed of sound, making it impossible to intercept them.
The US has been trailing China, which had tested its first hypersonic missile back in October. Russia’s first test was reportedly the one in Ukraine, with this week’s announcement in Washington about the trilateral pact being reportedly designed to help Washington and allies to catch up.