By Chaitali Bag

Larnaca, Cyprus. 24 February 2022. This is not only the most fast paced geo-political event of recent times but also the most awaited with bated breath by the world. Will he-won’t he was the expectancy mantra which finally became – he did . Russia invaded Ukraine yesterday morning and it was Vladimir Putin’s good morning to the world.

Cyprus like any other European nation was concerned about what was going happen in the continent and how would it effect its geo-political stand. It was just yesterday when the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides gave a formal statement, regarding the recognition of the unilateral declaration of independence of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine. “In light of developments in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus reiterates its support to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. Any actions that undermine the territorial integrity of Ukraine are contrary to the fundamental principles of International Law and violate the Minsk Agreements, which constitute the only way to resolve the crisis. We are against any secession, recognition or support of secession and any form of annexation,” he said in a the written statement.

The Foreign Minister participated in an extraordinary informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the EU, in Paris. And just a day after he again very strongly stated, “The recent developments are contrary to International Legality. These are military operations within Europe, something we had avoided since the end of the Second World War. We condemn the military invasion against the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a state.”

He added, “The President of the Republic of Cyprus will be participating in Brussels this evening in an extraordinary European Council, in order to send a joint and unified response to the developing situation. It is clear that the EU will not respond militarily but through the adoption of sanctions. We have to be prepared because these sanctions could have consequences on all member states including Cyprus. I reiterate that the decisions will be taken in a spirit of unity, which is the strongest weapon we possess. We call, even at this moment, for a ceasefire to avoid casualties among non-combatants and return to the diplomatic path to find a solution on the issue.”

Regarding Cypriots in Ukraine, the Crisis Management Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been activated and is at the disposal of those citizens directly affected, for consular assistance and the possible implementation of evacuation plans.

Also there is a sizeable Ukrainian and Russian population in Cyprus which lives in harmony. Both nationalities woke up to a rude shock. This invasion has become a cause of concern for the Ukrainians here who have families back home in their mother land. As we go to publication the surprise still lingers and shock sets in. Cyprus is not left untouched by this attack on Ukraine.

This is a developing story.