Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mi-35 Attack Helicopters Being Withdrawn from Cyprus?

Fox2 Magazine blog reports that plans are being discussed to withdraw the Cypriot Attack Helicopter Battalion from the Paphos military base in Cyprus. The issue is on the agenda of talks between the Cypriot government and the occupational leadership of the northern occupied areas. According to the same sources, the Paphos military base is intended to stay open. The helicopters would possibly be withdrawn to Greece.

The Mil Mi-35 helicopters were delivered by Russia in 2001. Their presence in the Cypriot National Guard was kept secret until 2002 when they appeared in a fly past during the funeral of General Florakis. A total of 12 helicopters were acquired. Cypriot pilots were trained on the type in Russia in 2001 and training was continued in Cyprus. One helicopter has since been lost in an accident. In 2001 the 450th Helicopter Squadron was formed of which the helicopters become part.

Fox2 Magazine mentions the historical parallel between the possible removal of these helicopters from Cyprus and the older unilateral Cypriot decision to practically disarm itself, which ultimately opened the island up for Turkey to invade.

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