Russia's relations with Cyprus, one of the EU countries which imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis, are "excellent," visiting Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov said on Thursday.
"We confirmed the excellent relations between our two countries," said Meshkov after a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
"We are going forward. We want to send more Russian tourists to Cyprus and will keep in touch and work together," Meshkov added.
Asked if they discussed the crisis in Ukraine, Meshkov answered "of course we did."
Cyprus counts of an increase in Russian tourists, whicyh topped 600,000 last year, to help its economy return to growth following a 10-billion euro (13.6-billion U.S. dollar) bailout by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund last year.
An official statement issued by the Cypriot foreign ministry also said that "the excellent bilateral relations between Russia and Cyprus were confirmed during bilateral political talks" between delegations of the two countries
It said the talks covered issues of joint interest "such as the situation in Ukraine, Syria and the Eastern Neighborhood and international issues."
Traditionally close relations between Russia and Cyprus bonded by common religious and cultural ties going back one thousand years seemed to be unaffected by sanctions Cyprus imposed on several Russians as part of the European Union reaction to the Crimea crisis.
Cypriot officials have said that "only two or three people" on the EU sanctions list were affected by Cypriot sanctions, but they already had the money blocked since restrictions on international bank transfers were imposed as part of the 2013 bailout.
Meshkov's visit to Cyprus came on the heals of a visit by United States Vice President Joe Biden seven days ago in a bid to instill some impetus to renewed negotiations aimed at the reunification of the eastern Mediterranean island.
Cyprus was partitioned when Turkish troops occupied its northern part in 1974 in response to a coup by the military junta ruling Greece at the time.
Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides dismissed suggestions in the press that Meskov's visit was meant to counterbalance Biden's visit.
He said the visit of the Russian official was arranged when he had visited Moscow at the start of the Ukranian crisis, long before Biden's trip to Cyprus was fixed.