Israel - Cyprus Joint Military Exercise Successful - Def. Minister
The jets were flying within Nicosia's FIR between Vassilikos and Pafos Airport, in an exercise that was planned several months ago, said the minister. Residents of Pyrgos in Limassol said the jets were flying very low and were extremely loud. Other reports said that the joint exercises were between Cyprus and Russia, based on the eyewitnesses spotting Russian Sukhoi jets.
At the same time, Russian aircraft carrier Amiral Kuznetsov is anchored in Limassol and is conducting military exercises, according to a ministry of defence spokeswoman.
Mr. Photiou thanked Israel's minister of defense, and said that "relations between Cyprus and Israel are entering a new phase."
"I am confident that the strategic dialogue that commenced several months ago will yield benefits for both countries and will continue in all sectors, including that of energy security," said the minister.
Cyprus and Israel discovered large reserves of hydrocarbons and have been busy building joint defence relations amid constant threats from Turkey, which has sent warships and its own seismic research vessels into Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in deliberate provocations.
Turkey has occupied Cyprus since 1974, when it invaded and set up the unrecognised and illegitimate 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'.