Informed sources have said that the Russian navy and Israeli military will hold joint exercises next week close to Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.
The exercises are slated to begin on the 28th November and last a week.
Commentators say that Russia is determined to send the message that they have invested interests in the region and will secure them.
It is understood that the aircraft carrier is carrying 24-fixed wing planes and a number of helicopters. It has also been reported in the press that the Russian navy may request to use port facilities at Limassol.
The radio report also claimed that three Russian destroyers are currently anchored off the Syrian coast. Russia’s naval supply and maintenance site near Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus will be modernized to accommodate heavy warships after 2012, the Russian Navy chief said earlier this week.
“Tartus will be developed as a naval base. The first stage of development and modernization will be completed in 2012,” Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said, adding it could then serve as a base for guided-missile cruisers and even aircraft carriers.
The Soviet-era facility is operated under a 1971 agreement by Russian personnel.
Russian relations with Cyprus are at their best in many years. Last month, the Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Vyacheslav Shumskiy said that Moscow fully supports the sovereign right of Cyprus to exploit its natural resources.
“Our position is absolutely clear , and we were among the first countries to comment on that, and we totally support the sovereign right of the Cypriot people for exploitation of natural resources , this is totally in accordance with the international law and with the EU regulations, so there is no doubt about that”, he noted.
Invited to comment on Turkish threats against Cyprus, he said that Turkey’s position is not “very wise”.