Eva Antonenko
30 August 2022 09: 15
Headings: News Policy

Turkey missed a ship with Russian S-300s: the Turkish ambassador was called to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry

International law presupposes free passage of ships in that region.

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Turkey missed a ship with Russian S-300s: the Turkish ambassador was called to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry

Ukraine summoned Turkish ambassador Yaghmur Ahmet Guldere in connection with information about the transfer of Russian S-300 air defense systems from Syria through the Bosphorus. About it сообщили on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

It is reported that the Ukrainian Deputy Minister Nikolai Tochitsky voiced concern and delivered a note verbale Turkish diplomat in connection with the emergence of information that the Russian Ministry of Defense chartered transported S-300PMU-2 missile systems through the Turkish-controlled strait.

Tochitsky also asked Turkey for information about what actions it resorted to to comply with the provisions of the Convention on the Regime of the Straits of August 20, 1926 to prevent the further escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The Ukrainian side expressed the hope that Turkey will adhere to its decision of February 28, 2022 to close the Black Sea straits for Russian warships during the war due to the fact that Turkey voiced its position on supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

Vessel «Sparta II» belongs controlled by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation of the company "Oboronlogistics", on which the United States imposed sanctions in May, and with the corresponding cargo it entered Novorossiysk, located near Crimea, on August 27. Probably, further transfer of the S-300 to Ukraine could be planned from there.

Turkey let a ship with Russian S-300s pass: the Turkish ambassador was called to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry - photo 1

Ранее сообщалосьthat the Russian Federation began to return its S-300s from Syria, possibly with the aim of using them in the war in Ukraine. In addition, the Russian Federation intends increase the grouping of its troops on the territory of Ukraine by 90 thousand people. Taken together, this may indicate the plans of the Russian side to resume the offensive.

Earlier, Ukraine has already turned to Turkey with a request to conduct an investigation in connection with the departure from the Turkish port of Karas on July 6 of the Russian ship Zhilbek Zholy, which was transporting Ukrainian grain from Berdyansk.

What does international law say?

Turkey fully controls the Bosporus and Dardanelles, but does not have the right to freely dispose of themas this right is governed by international law. The procedure for the use of straits is regulated by the above-mentioned Montreux Convention dated 1936. On the one hand, it establishes Turkish sovereignty over these straits, and on the other hand, it gives rights to the Black Sea and other countries.

The main principle of the Convention is the principle of freedom of passage and navigation in these straits (Art. 1). Civil ships have complete freedom of passage through the straits both in peacetime and in wartime. The Russian ship that passed through the strait was not a military ship.

As for warships, countries that have access to the Black Sea have the right to conduct any ships through the straitsnotifying the Turkish government.

According to Art. 19, warships of a belligerent state will not have the right to pass through the straits, except in the following cases:

  • if assistance is provided to the victim state;
  • if warships return to their main mooring ports.

If Turkey is a belligerent, that has the right to block the straits of the country with which it is at war, and for any warships, as well as if it suggests that the country is in danger. However, the specific grounds on which Turkey may assume a military danger are not clearly spelled out.

Recall that now Turkey is pursuing a foreign policy that is beneficial to itself, trying not to take sides in the war, and in fact trying to "sit on two chairs." So, the country does not want to spoil relations with Russia due to the close connection of national economies and does not import sanctions. And at the same time, it supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, seriously helped it with the establishment of grain exports, and in Ukraine intend to start producing Turkish "Bayrkatars". In addition, Turkey is buying Russian S-400s, and Rosatom is building a nuclear power plant in the country.

To some extent, such diplomatic behavior reflects the strategic Turkish culture, which consists in the realization of their national interests and at the same time maintaining "equidistant" positions.

Earlier we wrote about how the war in Ukraine exposed NATO's hidden problems, and published a translation of the British edition, according to which, UK resources to help Ukraine could run out by the end of the year.

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