Russia Complains to Turkey over Drones Sales to Ukraine

A drone Bayraktar is seen during a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in central Kyiv, Ukraine August 18, 2021. (Reuters)
A drone Bayraktar is seen during a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in central Kyiv, Ukraine August 18, 2021. (Reuters)
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Russia Complains to Turkey over Drones Sales to Ukraine

A drone Bayraktar is seen during a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in central Kyiv, Ukraine August 18, 2021. (Reuters)
A drone Bayraktar is seen during a rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in central Kyiv, Ukraine August 18, 2021. (Reuters)

Russia has complained to Turkey over its sale of Bayraktar TB2 armed drones to Ukraine, a high level Turkish bureaucrat said on Friday, but added the sales were by a private Turkish company and not state-to-state deals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 on what he called a "special military operation" to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine. Kyiv and the West say Putin launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

"Russians are upset and from time to time they are complaining about the drone sales. They used to complain and they are complaining right now," the bureaucrat said at a meeting with foreign media.

"But we have already given the answer ... that these are private companies and these drone purchases had been done before the war as well."

Turkey has forged close ties with Russia in energy, defense and trade, and relies heavily on Russian tourists. The Turkish defense firm Baykar had sold the drones to Kyiv despite Russian objections and signed a deal to co-produce more before the invasion, angering Moscow.

NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has good ties with both and has taken a mediating role in the conflict. It has hosted peace talks and is working to bring together the Ukrainian and Russian presidents.

While supporting Ukraine and criticizing Russia's invasion, Turkey has also opposed widespread Western sanctions on Moscow, saying communication channels need to remain open and casting doubt on the effectiveness of the measures.

Ankara also opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

After peace talks between negotiators in Istanbul last week, Ukraine listed several nations, including Turkey and members of the UN Security Council, as possible guarantors for Kyiv's security. The bureaucrat said some countries listed would face "legal issues" as security guarantors, without elaborating.

Turkey has said it is ready, in principle, to be Ukraine's guarantor, but the details of the format need to be finalized.



Netanyahu Receives Warning from Panel Probing Submarine Purchase 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)
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Netanyahu Receives Warning from Panel Probing Submarine Purchase 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)

An Israeli commission investigating suspected wrongdoing in government purchases of submarines and missile boats from Germany issued a warning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

The panel notified Netanyahu that based on evidence gathered thus far, it could ultimately determine that he had used his position as prime minister between 2009 and 2016 to greenlight the purchases without due process.

"By doing so, he (Netanyahu) endangered the security of the state and harmed the state of Israel's foreign relations and economic interests," said the panel in its written decision, made public on Monday.

Netanyahu in response said that the submarines were central to Israel's security "in ensuring its existence against Iran, which is trying to destroy us".

"History will prove that Prime Minister Netanyahu was right on this issue as well and made the right decisions for the security of Israel," the statement from his office said.

The commission, established under the previous government in 2022, said that it will soon publish unclassified parts of the evidence collected during the probe into the deal, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Netanyahu has struggled to salvage his security credentials since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas-led fighters, who killed 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages to Gaza according to Israeli tallies, the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

In the Israeli assault on Gaza that followed, more than 37,000 people have been killed according to Gaza health authorities.