The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on Thursday denied recent claims by the Russian Defense Ministry that the Daesh militant group was selling oil to Turkey.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayi dismissed Russian allegations that Daesh was selling oil to Turkey through the Kurdish region.
He went on to stress that Kurdish Peshmerga forces were on the frontlines in the fight against Daesh.
Serko Cevdet, head of the KRG’s energy commission, for his part, told Anadolu Agency that recently published Russian satellite images showed tankers carrying oil from the Kurdish region to Turkey’s Port of Ceyhan.
On Wednesday, Russian Defense Ministry officials published the images, which, they claimed, showed tanker trucks transporting oil from Daesh-controlled installations in Syria and Iraq to Turkey.
According to Cevdet, however, it is impossible to transport oil from the Daesh-held areas to Turkey via the Kurdish region.
"The KRG exports its oil via pipelines and tankers to Turkey for sale to buyers around the world," he said. "The Russian satellite images showed these tankers."
"Russia has no proof of any oil transactions between Turkey, the Kurdish region and Daesh," he added.
Tension has mounted between Ankara and Moscow since Nov. 24, when Turkey shot down a Russian a warplane -- in line with standard rules of engagement -- that had violated its airspace.
Since then, Moscow has imposed a series of economic sanctions on Turkey, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has alleged that Turkey was buying oil from Daesh.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, has challenged Putin’s claims, vowing to step down if the Russian allegations were proven and calling on Putin to do the same if they were proven to be false.