Moscow has said a Turkish vessel did little to avoid a collision with a Russian destroyer in the Aegean Sea. Tensions between the two countries have continued to deteriorate following the downing of a Russian jet.
Russian media reported on Sunday that the defense ministry had summoned Turkey's military attaché in Moscow over a near-miss in the Aegean Sea. According to the Kremlin, a Russian destroyer only narrowly avoided Turkish vessel despite repeated warnings on the part of the Russian navy.
"The crew of the Russian patrol ship Smetlivy which was located 22 kilometers from the Greek island of Lemnos in the northern part of the Aegean Sea avoided collision with a Turkish seiner," said a ministry statement.
"Despite numerous attempts by the Smetlivy, the crew of the Turkish seiner would not engage in radio contact and did not respond to special visual signals," the statement continued.
The Smetlivy then fired small arms as a warning, "to prevent the collision of the ships."
Immediately after that the Turkish vessel drastically changed course and continued its movement past the Smetlivy at the distance of 540 meters without engaging in contact with the Russian crew," the ministry said.
The incident was sure to add to the tension between the two nations, which has been at a fever pitch since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish security forces at the end of November, killing a pilot. Moscow has cried foul play, while Ankara has claimed the plane violated its airspace after flying too close to the Syrian-Turkish border.
Russia responded with sanctions against Turkey and removed it from its visa program. The Kremlin has also demanded an apology which never materialized, while the two governments have traded accusations of collaborating with terrorists. Moscow has been particularly insistent that Turkey is funding terrorism by buying oil from "Islamic State" (IS) jihadists.
es/rc (AFP, Reuters)