In the early hours of the morning of Thursday 24 February, President Putin ordered Russian troops to illegally invade Ukraine, violating international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We unreservedly condemn this invasion and we firmly oppose acts of secession or annexation. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine who are experiencing deep suffering as a result of President Putin’s actions.

President Putin has never hidden his intentions towards Ukraine and has repeatedly threatened major escalation. Sadly, inadequate measures were implemented in response to these threats and President Putin was undeterred. Other Leaders with advanced militaries at their command will have watched this closely and felt emboldened. President Erdogan, and other Turkish Government officials, have a worryingly comparable record of terrifying threats towards Cyprus – a small, democratic, European country. Such threats, whether against Ukraine, Cyprus, or any other sovereign country, can no longer go unpunished by the international community. They must be taken at face value and be responded to swiftly through meaningful and significant deterrents, including sanctions.

The speed and ease at which developments in Ukraine have happened has left UK Cypriots concerned about the prospect of unpunished violations of international law against Cyprus. Turkey has been given a free pass regarding its actions towards Cyprus, despite its illegal invasion of the northern part of the island in 1974; its ongoing occupation by 40,000 Turkish troops; its support for a secessionist regime in the north; its disregard for ECHR rulings on the missing persons and refugee rights; its recent incursions into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone; and its 2021 ‘opening’ of the fenced off area of Varosi in violation of UNSC resolutions. Turkey’s catalogue of illegal actions against Cyprus can no longer go unpunished as we have now seen the sobering and tragic consequences for Ukraine.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine.

The General Membership of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK

24th February 2022