Turkish authorities have expressed concern over the incident involving the Turkish cargo ship Şükrü Okan, which was boarded by the Russian military on August 13 for the purpose of inspection. Ankara warned Moscow of further escalation of tensions in the Black Sea if such incidents are repeated, the Center for Combating Disinformation, established under the auspices of the Communications Directorate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration, said in a statement quoted by TASS.
“Following the actions taken against the vessel, the Russian side was duly pointed out the need to avoid such initiatives that could increase tensions in the Black Sea”, the Turkish presidential administration said. Ankara did not comment on the incident for several days after the incident.
A patrol ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Vasily Bykov, opened warning fire on August 13 toward a dry cargo ship that was en route to the Ukrainian port of Izmail. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, this happened after the dry cargo ship ignored demands to stop for inspection.
A group of Russian military personnel then boarded the Şükrü Okan and inspected the vessel. After the inspection, the dry cargo ship continued its journey to the Ukrainian port.
On Tuesday, August 15, the Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the inspection of the dry cargo ship by the Russian military. The footage shows the ship’s crew members on their knees and with their hands behind their heads. When asked why the captain did not stop the dry cargo ship, he replies that he “did not understand it well”.
Russia withdrew from the grain deal to export agricultural products from Ukraine and warned that from July 20 it would consider all vessels in the Black Sea heading to Ukrainian ports as potential carriers of military cargo. At the same time, Moscow promised to consider the countries whose flags the ships would be flying as countries involved in the conflict on the side of the Ukrainian armed forces.