Russia “not happy” with Turkish drones flying over Donbass

Russia is “not happy” with reports that Turkish drones are flying over the Donbass region and will discuss that with Turkey, a spokesperson for Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, Russian news website Sputnik reported.  

“We have multi-layered normal relations with Turkey, but they are not easy”, the spokesperson said and added that all subjects are being discussed, such as the export of Turkish products. Supplying third countries is a “serious question”, the spokesperson said. Turkey is “buying some things from us, and selling their own to others.” All procedures with regards to export will be checked, Sputnik reported. 

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov already warned Turkey on Monday about drone deliveries to Ukraine, saying that Turkey should refrain from provoking “militarist tendencies” in Ukraine.

The tensions are rising in and around the conflict-zone of the Donbass region. Russia has now about 80.000 soldiers gathered, 40.000 on the eastern border and about 40.000 in Crimea.

The U.S. is sending two warships into the Black Sea to remain there until May 4, according to a notice sent to Turkish authorities. This raised questions at the Russian side whether this is in line with the Montreux Convention, which limits the time vessels belonging to non-Black Sea states can remain in the northern waters to 21 days and any movement should be given on 15 days’ notice.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the Russian build-up "unjustified and deeply concerning" and said it was "the largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea".

On 13 April Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu accused NATO of "threatening" actions and said Russia had responded by sending two armies and three formations of airborne troops to its western borders, to conduct exercises.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict. Ukraine says 26 of its troops have died in Donbas so far this year, compared to 50 in all of 2020. The separatists say more than 20 of their fighters have died this year.

NATO has close ties with Ukraine, which has received Western arms including U.S Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Turkey supports Ukraine’s desire to become a NATO-member.

Ukraine has purchased several Turkish drones and control stations for the  last year, while signing contracts for several more and an agreement to domestically manufacture them.

These drones played a major role in turning the tide in conflicts in countries like in Syria, Libya and most recently, the disupted region of Nagorno-Karabakh, where Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in the conflicts.