Russia Warship Fires Warning to Stop Turkish Boat Collision

  • Defense Ministry says fishing vessel ignored visual warnings
  • Turkey's military attache in Moscow summoned to ministry

A Russian warship fired a warning shot to prevent a collision with a Turkish fishing vessel in the Aegean sea, further straining ties between the two nations after last month’s downing of a Russian bomber near the Syrian border.

Russia’s Smetlivy destroyer, which was anchored, issued visual warnings and tried without success to reach the Turkish ship by radio when it came within 1,000 meters, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said Sunday in a statement. When the vessel didn’t respond and closed to within 600 meters, the Russian warship fired, prompting the Turkish boat to change course, the ministry said.

Ahmet Hakam Gunes, Turkey’s defense attache at the embassy in Moscow, was “urgently” summoned to meet Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. Russia said it’s “deeply concerned” over the incident and informed the attache of possible “harmful consequences over reckless actions” by Turkey regarding Russia’s military forces, the Defense Ministry said.

Turkey shot down the Russian warplane during a Syrian bombing raid on Nov. 24, poisoning bilateral relations and triggering retaliation from President Vladimir Putin that includes bans on some Turkish food products and restrictions on flights. Putin called the incident a "stab in the back," while Turkey said it was defending its territory after previous border violations.

Russia began air strikes in Syria in September in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s army in his fight against political opponents.

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