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Russia PM orders defense, diplomatic, economic measures in response to Turkey's aggression

November 26, 2015, 14:50 UTC+3
The Russian government was given 2 days to prepare proposals on restricting measures against Turkey
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© Dmitry Astakhov/Russian government press service/TASS

MOSCOW, November 26. /TASS/.  Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called Turkey's attack against the Russian Su-24M aircraft an act of aggression towards Russia and ordered the government government to develop economic restrictive measures against Ankara. He said measures of defense, diplomatic and economic nature will be taken in response.

"This is definitely an act of aggression against our state on the part of Turkey, our neighbor and the North Atlantic alliance member also," Medvedev said.

"Defense and diplomatic response measures have already been taken against this crime and will follow as well," the prime minister said, adding that economic measures will also take place.

"The government is tasked to develop a system of response measures in economic and humanitarian spheres against the aggression act," the prime minister said. Decisions will be made on the basis of 2006 year special economic measures law designed for such situations, he added.

"It establishes the following set of measures: suspension of implementing economic cooperation programs, restrictions of financial operations, restrictions of foreign trade deals, changes in import and export customs duties, measures affecting the tourism sphere, transportation, including transit, aircraft and vessels movement, humanitarian contacts, and, finally, use of the workforce," Medvedev said.

The government was given 2 days to prepare proposals on restricting measures against Turkey. 

"I suggest that this should be done in two days so as we can switch to practical procedures as soon as possible," Medvedev said. 

The prime minister also said that this is the task for a number of ministries, which should take part in the preparation of the relevant presidential decree and cabinet ruling. According to him, the documents should be submitted to the cabinet and the presidential administration.

"These documents won’t have any end dates. The term will depend on the international situation, ensuring security as part of the law on special economic measures and finally - on our relations with Turkey."

On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev said that Russia may substitute import of vegetables from Turkey with those supplied from Iran, Israel, Morocco and other countries if needed.

"Turkish vegetables account for 20% of the total Russian imports of vegetables. Import of vegetables, tomatoes in the first place, will be substituted with those from Iran, Morocco, Israel, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan," the Minister said, adding that Turkey supplies more than 360,000 tonnes of tomatoes to Russia.

He also said that Russia, if necessary, could replace imports of citrus from Turkey by deliveries from South Africa, Morocco and other countries.

"Turkey imports about 250,000 tonnes of citrus fruits, a quarter of the total citrus imported into Russia. We can replace citrus imports by supplies from South Africa, Morocco, China, Argentina, Israel, Abkhazia, Georgia," the Head of the Agriculture Ministry said.

According to the data provided by the ministry, in 2014 Turkish imports of food and agricultural products to Russia stood at $1.7 bln, which is in line with the previous year. Turkey accounted for 4% of Russia’s total food imports. In the first 10 months of this year Turkey supplied $1 bln worth of food, which is a 20% decrease compared with the previous year.

Besides citrus Turkey supplies tomatoes to Russia. Turkish tomatoes account for one fourth of total exports of Turkish food products to the Russian market.

Russia also imports grapes (10%) sunflower seeds (5%) as well as small volumes of different fruit and vegetables, fish and confectionery.

Russia’s Su-24M bomber was shot down on Tuesday by an air-to-air missile fired by an F-16 fighter jet of the Turkish Air Force. One pilot was killed while the other was rescued and taken to the Russian air base. During the operation to rescue the pilot, a Mi-8 helicopter was damaged by gunfire and a soldier was killed.

Turkey claims that the downed Russian combat plane violated Turkey’s air space. However, the Russian Defense Ministry has said that the Su-24M flew over Syria and the air space was violated by the Turkish plane that attacked Russia’s bomber.

The Russian General Staff has warned that Russia will destroy all potentially dangerous targets over Syria and announced about the plans to move the missile cruiser Moskva with the Fort missile system equivalent to the S-300 antiaircraft missile system to the Syrian coast.

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