Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the sighting of a Russian serviceman with a rocket launcher on board the Caesar Kunikov military vessel passing through the Bosporus
On December 4, as the Russian military vessel Caesar Kunikov was passing through the Bosporus strait towards the south, Turkey sighted a serviceman armed with a rocket launcher standing on the ship’s deck. For some reason, Ankara considers this “provocative and threatening.” The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was told of “Turkey’s concern”. According to Turkish diplomats, the sighting allegedly sparked an “outrage” in local media.
I would like to note that the photo of a sentry guard armed with a heavy machine gun standing on the deck of a Spanish military ship sailing in the strait provoked no outcry from Turkey or its media.
I want to stress that the Russian vessel has not violated any of the provisions of the 1936 Montreux Convention, which regulates shipping in the straits, or relevant Turkish instructions. The protection of the vessel is the legitimate right of any crew. When our diplomats asked the Turkish side to specify the nature of the alleged violation, we received no clear answer apart from abstract references to the “context and philosophy” of international laws.
December 8, 2015