Fire damages Russian cultural centre in Cyprus, Moscow cites 'terrorist attack'

Fire damages Russian cultural centre in Cyprus, Moscow cites 'terrorist attack'
Russia suspects a fire at its cultural centre in Cyprus was a terrorist attack.
2 min read
The cause of the fire was under investigation [Getty/archive]

A fire damaged a Russian cultural centre in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Wednesday, prompting Moscow to denounce what it called a "terrorist attack."

The cause of the fire was under investigation, fire brigade spokesman Andreas Kettis said.

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.