EU sanctions against Russia and the actions of the Central Bank of Cyprus have led thousands of Russians to close their accounts in Cyprus and a large number of companies to leave the island, Russian ambassador Stanislav Osachi said on Friday.
Addressing the Cyprus-Russian investment forum organised by the Cyprus-Russia Business Association in Limassol, Osachi said that the latest developments in the Cypriot banking sector were of concern to Russian business circles.
He said the EU’s continued sanctions against Russia as well as the Central Bank’s campaign to locate and close shell companies had led to the closure of tens of thousands of accounts of Russian clients of Cypriot banks while some large Russian companies have either already left the island or are considering doing so.
These developments do not honour Cyprus or the Russian economy, he added, and expressed the hope that such obstacles in the relations between the two countries will soon be overcome.
In view of the long-standing traditionally close ties between Cyprus and Russia, he said he was certain that despite these difficulties, prospects for the further development of economic and business relations were bright.
Russian and Cypriot investments remained significant in both countries. Direct investment from Cyprus to Russia in 2018 stood at $196b and direct Russian investment in Cyprus at $176b, he said.
The Ambassador also said that Russians comprise one quarter of foreign tourists in Cyprus and were among the first to take advantage of the investment for citizenship programme of the Republic of Cyprus.