Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | December 8, 2015

Provocation: Sailor seen with MANPAD on Russian warship transiting Bosporus

Shoulder-fired peace cruises in the Bosporus: Russian sailor on the deck of Russian landing ship Tsesar Kunikov, 4 Dec 2015. (Image: Emre Dagdeviren via Twitter, UK Express)

Shoulder-fired peace cruises in the Bosporus: Russian sailor on the deck of Russian landing ship Tsesar Kunikov, 4 Dec 2015. (Image: Emre Dagdeviren via Twitter, UK Express)

This incident reportedly occurred the morning of 4 December.

The Ropucha-class tank landing ship Tsesar Kunikov (BDK-158) was heading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, conducting a southbound transit of the Turkish Straits.  (As documented at the excellent Bosphorus Naval News blog, BDK-158 has been back and forth through the Turkish Straits several times over the last few months.  The ship was most recently off Syria in November, and returned to the Black Sea on 25 November before Friday’s southbound transit.)

Turkish media reported that a Russian sailor was photographed on the deck with a shoulder-fired missile launcher in the firing position during the transit. …

The image shows a man with what appears to be a 9K38 Igla (SA-18 “Grouse”) anti-air missile launcher – a man-portable air defense system, or MANPAD – on an upper deck of the Tsesar Kunikov.  Additional views of the event were spread far and wide via Twitter. …

The implied threat would be to surveillance aircraft operated by Turkey over the Bosporus.

Experienced Navy sailors will recognize that this kind of display is prohibited for peacetime straits passage under any maritime law regime – including the Montreux Convention, which governs passage in the Turkish Straits.

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