Jan 21, 2021

On Sunday morning, a Russian warship fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing vessel in the Aegean Sea, apparently in an attempt to avoid a collision, said a Russian Defense Ministry statement released later in the day. The incident will likely add to tensions between the two countries, which began with Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian aircraft in November.

According to the statement, one of Russia’s warships, the destroyer Smetlivy, was forced to fire the shots when the Turkish ship failed to obey previous warnings to change course and approached within 600 meters of the Smetlivy.

The Smetlivy then sent small arms fire towards the fishing boat, which quickly turned away.

Turkey’s military attache in Moscow has been summoned to the foreign ministry in response to the incident.

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Relations have been tense between the governments since Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on November 24, claiming that it had violated Turkish airspace. Russia, denying the claim, maintained that its jet had remained in Syrian airspace. A Russian pilot was killed when he parachuted from the downed jet, and a Russian marine died in a rescue mission following the incident.

Turkey refused to apologize for the incident, causing Russia to announce economic sanctions against Turkey. Russia also reportedly moved its air defense missile systems closer to the Syrian border with Turkey in an obvious threat to shoot down any Turkish aircraft that venture into Syrian airspace.