MOSCOW, Russia on Sunday said one of its warships in the Aegean Sea fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing vessel in order to avoid a collision.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said the Smetlivy warship fired small arms warning shots as the Turkish vessel neared about 1,800 feet before it turned away. The Turkish military attache in Moscow has been summoned to the Russian foreign ministry due to the incident.
Smetlivy was anchored off the Greek island of Lemnos when it spotted the Turkish fishing boat about 3,000 feet away, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
“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,” a ministry statement reads. “Small arms were fired in the direction of the Turkish vessel from a range that is not lethal” to prevent a collision.
“Immediately after that the Turkish vessel drastically changed course,” the statement said, adding that the Turkish vessel passed within half a kilometer of the Smetlivy and still made no contact.
Russian and Turkish relations have deteriorated since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet. Both countries have fiercely disagreed on the circumstances surrounding the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 fighter jet on Nov 24. Turkey said the Russian jet was in its airspace and and said it was warned 10 times to divert course or face being shot down. Russia and the surviving pilot said no warning was received.