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Russian retaliation in Cyprus with three Cypriot public officials persona non grata and Nicosia's response

After a delay of more than three months, Moscow responded to the withdrawal of the residence permit of a Russian journalist from the Republic of Cyprus by banning three Cypriot employees of the Ministry of Interior from entering Russian territory

"Let diplomacy work," Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letibiotis said today, when asked to comment on the Russian Foreign Ministry's ban on three officials of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus from entering Russia. 

In his statements to journalists at the Presidential Palace, asked about the issue, the Spokesman said: "It is not a pleasant development. It is not a pleasant news. On the part of the Republic of Cyprus, all appropriate measures had been taken to protect the national security of our state, but also to implement the decisions and protect the interests of the Republic. We are in contact through diplomatic channels. Let's let diplomacy work".

According to Cypriot media reports: the Russian Foreign Ministry has announced a ban on the entry into the country of citizens - officials of the Republic of Cyprus, linked to the termination of accreditation and the expulsion of the Russian government's newspaper correspondent from Cyprus last autumn.

A statement from the Russian Ministry said that the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Moscow, Cyprus Yiorgallis, was informed of the retaliatory measures in response to "the unacceptable" actions of the Cypriot authorities in October 2023 against Aleksandr Gasyuk, a correspondent of Roshskaya Gazeta accredited in Nicosia, and D. Doinikov, an official of the Russian embassy in Cyprus".

"Officials of the Republic of Cyprus directly involved in the provocation have been banned from entering the territory of our country in accordance with Federal Law No. 114-FZ of 15 August 1996 on the procedure for leaving the Russian Federation and entering the Russian Federation," the Russian statement concludes.

According to information from the Cypriot Ministry of Interior, three officials of the Ministry of Interior of Cyprus are mentioned, as described by a diplomatic source, without disclosing their names.

In fact, according to the same source, the current reaction of the Russian side after three and a half months, compared to similar incidents with other EU member states, expresses Moscow's will to defuse this crisis with a predictable, appropriate response and not to escalate it.

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