Russian-Turkish Shooting Incident On Aegean

The Russian Defense Ministry said Sunday one of its warships was forced to fire warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea to avoid a collision.

The Turkish military attache was also summoned over the incident, which took place 22 km from the Greek island of Lemnos in the northern Aegean.

Aegean_Sea_mapIn the Sunday morning incident, an unnamed Turkish fishing vessel nearly collided with the Russian destroyer Smetlivy.

The Russians were unable to make radio contact with the Turkish boat, which also did not respond to visual signals and flares. The Turks sharply changed course after shots were fired before passing within just over 500 meters of the warship, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

However, international sea laws state a vessel actively fishing has right of way, even to a destroyer. It is not known if the Turkish boat was in the middle of fishing, or gave the required lights to indicate it was fishing.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later on Sunday told local media that more information was needed from the crew aboard the Turkish fishing boat before a proper response could be issued.

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“We are not on the side of escalating tension, we are on the side of de-escalating tense situations through dialogue,” Cavusoglu said, according to the DHA news agency.

Tensions remain high between the two nations after the November 24 shooting down of a Russian warplane that allegedly entered Turkish airspace.

 

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