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

A fire damaged a Russian cultural center 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 center of Nicosia, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky. It was contained in just under two hours.

The center, 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 center," it cited him as telling the Russia-24 TV channel.

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