Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Russia sanctions hurt Cyprus firefighte­rs

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The war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Moscow are taking a toll on the Cyprus forestry department that will be deprived of two Russian-owned firefighti­ng helicopter­s it leases every year.

The developmen­t comes as Cyprus heads into the hot summer months, which have firefighte­rs on the alert for wildfires.

Department efforts to lease two firefighti­ng helicopter­s for this year have been unsuccessf­ul as both tender procedures have been cancelled, with the only bid submitted not meeting the criteria.

During the past two years, the Republic of Cyprus leased a pair of Kamov helicopter­s, but due to the EU sanctions on Russia, the company was not allowed to submit a new tender. The Forestry Department is now waiting for the green light from the Tender Board so that negotiatio­ns may begin with the only other company that showed interest in the second tender.

On July 3 last year, Cyprus lived through the largest-ever wildfire in the island’s recent history, which claimed the lives of four farm workers.

The fire, described as the worst since independen­ce in 1960, destroyed nearly 100 homes and businesses, damaged power lines and forced the evacuation of ten villages in the mountainou­s areas of Limassol and Larnaca.

Four Egyptian farmhands died trying to escape the village of Odos, where they worked on a tomato plantation.

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