The Russian-made tanks fall under the Cyprus-US agreement, which prohibits any import of material from Moscow
Close to an agreement for the purchase of the Israeli Merkava and the Barak MX anti-aircraft system, reports a Cypriot newspaper, highlighting the important decision that is at hand for the reinforcement of the island in the Turkish plans.
The number of Israeli tanks to be purchased is not stated, but it is estimated to be over 60 at least, manning two divisions.
Israeli BARAK MX anti-aircraft system is also included in the whole negotiation.
The surface-to-air missile system has a range of 150 km and is designed to cover mainly urban areas, while it also has the ability to intercept ballistic missiles.
The BARAK MX will be called upon to fill serious gaps in Cyprus’ air defense by replacing the Russian medium-range BUK-M1 system.
There is no question of exchanging Israeli tanks with the Cypriot ones against the background of Ukraine
The Cypriot Ministry of Defense denied that Israel would send Merkava tanks to Cyprus, with the intention of then delivering EF T-80s to Ukraine.
Cyprus cannot export any tanks of this type to Ukraine without the approval of the supplier.
But the bottom line is what will happen to the T-80s of the EF?
The Russian-made tanks fall under the Cyprus-US agreement, which prohibits any import of material from Moscow.
With this unfortunately as a given, and without anything changing along the way, the Russian-made tanks, as well as the BUK-M1 anti-aircraft systems, will at some point run out of spare parts, (unless another solution is found from an Eastern European country), which impossible since these countries also have the same problem.
One solution would be to sell the EF T-80 tanks to Serbia, which maintains very good relations with Russia.
We recall the sale of 11 Russian Mi-35P attack helicopters, as well as their other related equipment, by the Cypriot Ministry of Defense to the corresponding Ministry of Defense of Serbia.
In any other case, however, the Cypriot T-80s will be abandoned and there will be a very serious operational problem, since the only solution would be the so-called technical “cannibalism”.
The US plan to replace Russian equipment brings huge problems to Greece and Cyprus
The US plan concerns the complete independence of the Greek and Cypriot Armed Forces from the Russian-made weapon systems, through the war in Ukraine, as it becomes absolutely clear that the rift between Moscow and NATO has created prohibitive conditions for their maintenance.
The problem for Greece and Cyprus is that Russia still maintains the end user license agreement, which means that the two countries cannot export the specific industrial product to a third party without the permission of Moscow, which under the present circumstances it is rather impossible.
For the Greek side, it is not clear with what systems the Russian-origin anti-aircraft systems we have will be replaced, however the strengthening of air defense – which in the event of an incident will be at the heart of Greece’s overall defense, and the most modern systems are necessary.