Russia and Cyprus have signed a military cooperation agreement that would allow Russian navy ships to make regular port calls on the island.

The deal with European Union member Cyprus, which also hosts British military bases, comes amid Russia-West tensions over Ukraine, the worst since the Cold War times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after Thursday's talks with visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that the agreement would primarily refer to Russian navy ships involved in international counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts. He added that military cooperation between Russia and Cyprus isn't directed against any third party.

Russia has sought permission for navy ships to use ports in various parts of the world to replenish supplies and undergo maintenance, deals that would allow Moscow to expand its global military presence.