A gunman has shot dead Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, apparently in protest at Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict.
ANDREI KARLOV, Russian ambassador to Turkey,
gunned down earlier today in Ankara
Several other people were reportedly also injured in the attack, a day after protests in Turkey over Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The killer, said to be an off-duty Turkish policeman, opened fire at point blank range as Mr Karlov made a speech.
Police later “neutralised” the attacker, Turkish media say.
Mr Karlov was rushed to hospital, reports said, but his death was later confirmed by the Russian foreign ministry.
Condemning the attack as an act of “terrorism”, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Turkey had given assurances that there would be a comprehensive investigation, and those responsible would be punished.
Speaking outside the hospital where Mr Karlov was taken, Ankara’s Mayor, Melih Gokcek, said the killing was intended to ruin his country’s relations with Russia.
The attack was swiftly condemned by other countries:
US state department spokesman John Kirby: “We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: “Shocked to hear of despicable murder of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey. My thoughts are with his family. I condemn this cowardly attack.”
While there were protests in recent days about the situation in Aleppo, on a political level the Turkish and Russian governments have been co-operating in the ceasefire operation, the BBC’s Turkey correspondent, Mark Lowen, reports.
Before the attack happened, a meeting of the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers had been planned in Moscow for Tuesday.
But tonight it seems the political fight over Syria’s future has spilled over into public hatred, our correspondent says.
THE TURKISH ASSASSIN,
an off-duty Turkish policeman