Foreign ministry responds over detention of Russian nationals

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“It would be unfair to distort the positive image Russians have for Cyprus,” a Foreign Ministry source told CNA.

The source was responding to comments made by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova over the issue of the detention of Russian national, I. Shirobokova and the alleged violation of her rights in Cyprus.

According to the Russian News Agency Tass, Shirobokova was detained on her arrival in Cyprus after she told authorities that her purpose of her trip was to visit the Turkish-occupied north.

Zakharova said that “the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Cyprus has been instructed to request from local authorities to provide official information on the non-admission and the detention of Russian citizens at airports.

“The rude and unceremonious treatment of law-abiding Russian citizens arriving for the purposes of tourism or for any other legal reason in the territory of Cyprus with all the duly executed documents, is absolutely inadmissible,” the spokeswoman stressed.

Tass reported that the Russian embassy in Cyprus has registered a growing number of complaints by Russians in the past months over tighter requirements for documents that have to be submitted at Cypriot check-points.

“Cypriot authorities have re-tightened control over visits to the northern part. According to media reports, foreign nationals who indicate at the border that the aim of their trip is to visit the territory of the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus may be detained and deported,” Tass writes.

“The actions by Cypriot border guard personnel towards I. Shirobokova may be qualified in a judicial manner and may be appealed against by the affected person in a court of law of the Republic of Cyprus,” the Russian diplomat stressed.

Russia has taken some measures to prevent discriminatory actions against Russian citizens, Zakharova added.

On November 1, Russia’s Foreign Ministry handed over a note to Ambassador of Cyprus to Moscow Leonidas Markides over the violation of the rights of Russian nationals upon crossing the Cypriot border.

“We are looking into the particular incidence with proper consideration,” the Foreign Ministry source told CNA, underlining that the arrivals of Russian visitors in Cyprus during the current year (until the end of October) are over 750,000.

“Therefore, it would be unfair to let this (incident) distort the overall absolutely positive image regarding the treatment and hospitality which Russian visitors enjoy from the moment they arrive in Cyprus until the moment they leave the island,” the source added.

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