Moscow is firing back at countries that joined sanctions against Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine, with Cyprus finding itself on the list days after Russian naval ships were denied access to the island’s ports.
Russia compiled a list of "unfriendly countries" over the weekend as a reaction to international condemnation of its special military operation, seen by other nations and western media as an unjustified invasion.
“The Government of the Russian Federation has approved on Monday a list of foreign states and territories that commit unfriendly actions against Russia, its companies, and citizens,” Moscow said on Monday in an official statement.
'The Government of the Russian Federation has approved on Monday a list of foreign states and territories that commit unfriendly actions against Russia, its companies, and citizens'
The list included the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, many other countries and territories as well as all EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus, where last week it emerged that at least five Russian ships including frigates and support vessels were denied access to the island's Limassol port on the southern coast.
While Russian ships always had access to Cypriot ports, Moscow over the years had sought stronger ties with some European countries including Cyprus.
But Nicosia reportedly cited the ongoing situation in Ukraine when it denied access to Russian ships, with officials later clarifying the measure was not permanent but only applied to the specific case.
Countries across the globe have issued sanctions against Russia as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian businessmen, accusing Moscow of breaching international law by invading Ukraine.
Moscow says it has launched an operation into Ukraine after several years of war crimes against minorities committed by nationalist elements within the Ukrainian army.
Some political pundits said Putin was trying to revive a Greater Russia while others maintained Moscow saw moves by western countries in support of Kiev and NATO expansion as an existential threat.