OPINION: The Cypriot National Guard after the lifting of US Arms embargo and Ukraine

The United States has decided to end its unfair arms embargo against the Republic of Cyprus, allowing the Cypriot National Guard to gain access to a wide variety of previously restricted military equipment.

At this point in time, the vast majority of the equipment used by the Cypriot National Guard originates from Russia. T-80U tanks and BMP-3 are just two examples of the Russian-origin weaponry that forms the backbone of the defenses maintained by the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey.

The Cypriot National Guard T-80U sent a deadly message to Turkey

As a result of the lifting of the arms embargo, Cyprus now has the opportunity to completely replace the weapons of Russian origin with corresponding Western systems.

This is extremely important because, in light of the events that are happening in Ukraine, the maintenance of Russian weapon systems that are maintained by Western countries like Cyprus is regarded as being especially uncertain.

Since Cyprus can’t risk “running out” of spare parts for the Russian systems it uses, these weapons will probably need to be replaced in the future. 

Now, if Cyprus properly leverages the situation with the war in Ukraine, it could immediately replace all of the Russian originated T-80U tanks with corresponding western ones, such as the Leopard 2 or the M1A2 Abrams, and the Russian originated anti-aircraft systems with corresponding western ones, if there is a positive reaction from the United States.

OPINION: Cyprus after the lifting of US Arms embargo and Ukraine
A U.S. Marine AH-1Z Viper with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 167 takes off in Charleston, West Virginia, July 26, 2019. HMLA-167 is subordinate command of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. William L.Holdaway)

Moreover, for the first time ever, Cyprus has access to the market of weapons systems that the United States keeps in reserve, beginning with AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters that could provide enormous capabilities in support of ground operations and ending with massive amounts of ammunition and modern anti-tank weapons.


OPINION: Cyprus after the lifting of US Arms embargo and Ukraine
PHOTO: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

Concerning Ukraine, the Cypriot Russian-origin weapon systems have the potential to improve the operational capabilities of the Ukrainian army, which would be helpful in the fight against Russian aggression.

Ukrainian Armed Forces will have no problem operating this tanks and armored vehicles as they also operate similar or identical weapon systems.

To summarize, the Cypriot National Guard will soon probably have to reconsider the deployment and maintenance of its Russian-origin systems. However, as Cyprus has 37% of its land occupied by Turkey, a main precondition is that the United States and Western states will have to immediately replace the Russian-origin systems that can be gifted to Ukraine.


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