A fire in the Cypriot capital Nicosia destroyed a Russian cultural center, leading Moscow to condemn what it termed a “terrorist attack.”
incident brigade spokesman Andreas Kettis said that efforts were being made to determine what caused the incident.
The fire broke out around noon in the complex, which is in the heart of the commercial centre of Nicosia, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky. It was contained in just under two hours.
The centre, which was being renovated, is thought to have strong links to the Russian embassy in Cyprus, and is a popular venue for art exhibitions and plays.
Yevgeny Primakov, head of Rossotrudnichestvo, the Russian government’s cultural promotion agency, said foul play was clearly responsible, TASS reported.
“We qualify this as a terrorist attack since it is an attack on a civilian, peaceful building, clearly with the aim of not only causing damage, but also intimidating both our employees and the people who come to this cultural centre,” it cited him as telling the Russia-24 TV channel.
Earlier this month Cyprus said it was investigating how a number of its nationals ended up on U.S. and British sanctions lists over allegations of cooperating with Russians under sanctions. Some of those restrictions were imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.