Some 1,250 trucks transferring Turkish goods have been blocked from entering Russia and are stranded at border posts, a Turkish shipping association says.
“Russia has not given permission to Turkish trucks for entry or transit passage for the past four days,” Fatih Sener, the managing director of Turkey’s International Shippers Association (UND), told Reuters on Monday.
“Apart from the trucks waiting at the border posts, it doesn’t allow those that have entered the country… to discharge their load at the customs. This is the case for Romanian, Bulgarian, Kazakh and Moldovan trucks carrying Turkish goods,” Sener said.
Tensions have been running high between Ankara and Moscow following the recent shooting down of a Russian bomber by a Turkish warplane.
On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M jet inside Syria, claiming that the aircraft had violated the Turkish airspace. Russia rejects Turkey’s claim. The two pilots of the aircraft, which was on a mission targeting terrorists in Syria, ejected as it was going down in flames. One of them was killed by militants in Syria, while another was rescued. The militants also killed another Russian soldier who was on a mission to rescue the downed jet’s pilots.
Sener also said some of the trucks waiting for transit passage at the Russian border are now seeking alternative routes. “Azerbaijan has allowed entry and these trucks will go to Central Asia through this route, which is much more costly.”
Russian sanctions against Turkey
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the downing of the jet a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists,” and ordered economic sanctions on Turkey, which includes labor force restrictions and bans on some goods and services. The Russian Defense Ministry has also suspended military ties with Turkey.
Under the bans, the visa-free regime for Turkish nationals visiting Russia will be suspended starting next year. Moscow has also stopped all sales of tour packages and charter flights to Turkey.
Turkey, one of the most popular holiday destinations for the Russians, mainly exports food, agricultural products and textiles to Russia. Nearly half of Turkey’s exports to Russia, which totaled $6 billion in 2014, go by land.
Russia deploys air-to-air missiles
On Monday, Russia additionally equipped its Su-34 fighter jets conducting anti-terror airstrikes in Syria with air-to-air missiles.
“Today, Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers have made their first sortie equipped not only with high explosive aviation bombs and guided aerial bombs, but also with short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles,” Russian Aerospace Defense Forces spokesman Igor Klimov said.
He added that the planes are equipped with the missiles “for defensive purposes.”
Klimov also noted that the air-to-air missiles are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles).
Russia began its military campaign against terrorists in Syria on September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government, shortly after the upper house of the Russian parliament gave President Putin the mandate to use military force in Syria.
By Press TV