Tuesday 17 October 2017

Russia fires warning shot at Turk ship

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech during a meeting with top military officials in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. Putin said the Russian military action helped change the situation in Syria, supporting the Syrian army offensive. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech during a meeting with top military officials in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. Putin said the Russian military action helped change the situation in Syria, supporting the Syrian army offensive. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Louisa Loveluck

Russia said yesterday that one of its warships had fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea to avoid a collision, and that it had summoned Turkey's military attache in Moscow over the incident.

The defence ministry said in a statement that the Turkish fishing vessel had failed to respond to earlier warnings, but changed course after shots were fired from the destroyer Smetlivy.

The ships were about 500 metres apart at the time, according to witnesses.

"Despite numerous attempts by the crew of the Smetlivy, the crew of the Turkish fishing boat did not make radio contact and did not respond to visual signals by semaphore or warning flares," the ministry said, adding that small arms had fired the warning shots "from a range that is not lethal".

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was investigating and would make a statement once it had more information.

The incident took place amid rising tensions between the two countries, which are on opposite sides of Syria's bitter civil war.

Relations worsened dramatically last month after Ankara ordered the downing of a Russian jet that briefly entered Turkish air space, killing one pilot.

Vladimir Putin branded the incident a "stab in the back" and retaliated by imposing economic sanctions on Turkey and bombing Syrian rebel groups Turkey is supporting.

Telegraph.co.uk

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