Cyprus: Putin “to help ease” gas search tensions with Turkey

“Putin promised that he would intercede with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to deescalate the crisis”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to intercede with Turkey’s leader to try to ease rising tensions over oil and gas exploration in eastern Mediterranean waters that Cyprus claims as its own, the Cypriot government said Thursday.

Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said Putin made the pledge during a 45-minute telephone conversation with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who appealed to the Russian leader to personally step in so Turkey “is convinced to cease its unlawful actions.”

The European Union has already imposed sanctions on top officials from Turkey’s petroleum company and curtailed some funding to Turkey over its pursuit of energy resources in Cypriot waters. The United States has also urged Turkey to stop “provocative” drilling efforts that increase regional tensions.

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“(Putin) promised that he would intercede with (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan in order to deescalate the crisis,” Koushos told reporters.

“(Putin) assured that he’s observing the situation … with great concern, and always supports the resolution of differences through negotiations based on principles of international law,” the government spokesman added.

Read more: AP