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Russian regions not a bargaining chip: Kremlin slams prof’s Northern Cyprus-Crimea plan

Dmitry Peskov noted that the statement from Turkish Professor Hasan Unal was unlikely Ankara's official point of view

MOSCOW, July 27./TASS/. Russia’s regions will never be a bargaining chip with other countries, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.

"Of course, the Russian regions cannot and will never be up for bargain, this is out of the question," the Kremlin spokesman asserted. That said, the spokesman commented on a statement from Turkish Professor Hasan Unal, who suggested that Moscow and Ankara could agree on the status of Crimea if Russia recognized the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as an independent state.

"It is unlikely that an esteemed professor from Turkey can represent Ankara’s official point of view," Peskov noted.

Earlier, the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar announced at a military parade in the Turkish part of Nicosia that part of the territory of Varosha, located in the neutral zone of the island, would be demilitarized and allocated for the use of Greek Cypriot private owners. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who attended the parade, welcomed this decision, claiming that it would benefit all sides.

However, under the UN Security Council resolution of 1984, Varosha must remain intact until the return of descendants of the Greek Cypriot owners who were evicted in 1974. Another resolution of the UN Security Council seeks the return of this district under the control of UN peacekeepers (it is de-facto under the control of Turkish troops). In defiance of these two documents, on October 8, 2020 the authorities of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus opened access for the tourists to the coastal part of Varosha’s northern neighborhoods.

On July 22, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Moscow did not support the unilateral changes to the status of part of that closed district.