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Russia Fires Warning Shots at Turkish Ship in Aegean

MOSCOW — The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday one of its warships, the destroyer Smetlivy, had been forced to fire warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea to avoid a collision and that it had summoned the Turkish military attache over the incident.

It said in a statement that the Turkish fishing vessel, which it did not name, had failed to respond to earlier warnings, but had sharply changed course after shots were fired before passing within just over 500 meters of the warship.

The incident, which occurred on Sunday morning, is likely to heighten tensions between the two nations who are seriously at odds over Syria and the Turkish shooting down of a Russian military jet last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called the downing of the plane a "stab in the back", has since imposed economic sanctions on Turkey as a retaliatory measure.

Earlier this month, Turkey complained to Russia over an incident in which a Russian sailor was pictured brandishing a rocket launcher on the deck of a naval ship passing through Istanbul.

Image: Russia's diesel-electric submarine Rostov-on-Don is escorted by a Turkish Navy Coast Guard boat as it sets sail in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Black Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey
Russia's diesel-electric submarine Rostov-on-Don is escorted by a Turkish Navy Coast Guard boat as it sets sail in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Black Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2015. MURAD SEZER / Reuters