Ankara Warns Kremlin Against Interference in Black Sea Navigation
Turkish authorities have engaged in discussions with Russia regarding the incident involving the cargo vessel Şükrü Okan, which was detained by Russian military forces last weekend. Turkey has cautioned against obstructing vessel movement in the Black Sea, emphasizing that such actions are unacceptable.
This announcement was made by the Centre for Combating Disinformation (DMM) under the Turkish President's Communications Directorate.
The DMM's statement aimed to debunk reports of a supposed "Russian military attack on a Turkish vessel." It clarified that the incident involving the Şükrü Okan occurred in international waters, and although the ship is owned by a Turkish company, it was sailing under the flag of Palau.
"In light of these circumstances, after the intervention in the vessel's movement, counterparts in the Russian Federation were duly informed to avoid any attempts at escalating tensions in the Black Sea," the Turkish administration added.
As reported by The Gaze, a Russian military ship fired warning shots at the Turkish cargo ship Şükrü Okan in the Black Sea. The Turkish vessel was en route to the Romanian port of Sulina, although Russian sources insist it was heading to the Ukrainian port of Izmail. The gunfire was conducted from an automatic cannon mounted on the Russian ship. An inspection team was dispatched to the Turkish vessel via a military helicopter. Russia justified its use of force by claiming that the ship did not respond to warnings to halt.
The incident took place in neutral waters in the western part of the Black Sea. Although the Turkish ship is associated with Istanbul, it operates under the "convenient flag" of the offshore state Palau.
Previously, Russia stated that it considers all ships heading to Ukrainian waters as potentially capable of transporting military cargo.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemned Russia's "provocative" military actions on August 13th in the Black Sea against the Turkish cargo ship Şükrü Okan. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to take decisive countermeasures.
The U.S. State Department also issued a strong response to Russia's military provocation concerning the Turkish civilian ship, labeling the incident an "unacceptable escalation."
"Russia has publicly declared that all ships heading to Ukrainian ports in the waters of the Black Sea will be regarded as legitimate military targets—as potential carriers of military cargo. This, in our view, is an unacceptable escalation that once again demonstrates Moscow's responsibility for diverting grain from its intended destination. Since Russia's cessation of participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has reported that Russia has attacked 26 port infrastructure objects and destroyed over 220,000 tons of grain. We continue to closely monitor this situation, and we are, of course, concerned that Russian military forces could extend their targeting to Ukrainian grain facilities, including attacks on civilian vessels in the Black Sea," emphasized Vedant Patel, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department.