Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov has died after being shot in Ankara.
The news was confirmed by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The gunman was heard shouting that the attack was a protest against Russian involvement in the Syrian war. He was killed by security forces.
What exactly happened
Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was taken to hospital in Ankara after being shot while making a speech at an art gallery. In the immediate aftermath, broadcaster NTV said three other people were wounded, while CNN Turk television said shooting was continuing in the building.
Film has emerged of the shooting and the seconds that followed. A man in a suit is seen brandishing a gun apparently having just shot the ambassador from behind, and shouting in Turkish about Russian involvement in the civil war in Syria.
“Don’t forget Syria, don’t forget Aleppo. While the people there are not safe we will not let you be safe,” the gunman is heard shouting as he paces about on the stage, waving his weapon in the air.
The Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been “neutralised” soon after the attack.
Sources close to the Turkish authorities have identified who they believe the attacker is, naming him as a 22-year-old Turkish police officer.
The moment before: The Russian Ambassador to Turkey looks at a painting at a gallery in Ankara earlier today. Behind him, his assassin… pic.twitter.com/sZyJsTnAYo— Tunku Varadarajan (@tunkuv) December 19, 2016
Karlov was a ‘Korean specialist’
According to a Russian embassy profile, Andrei Karlov, born in 1954, had been ambassador to Turkey since 2013 and had previously been deployed in both North and South Korea.
That Karlov went from Korean affairs to head of consular and then to a sensitive post in Ankara indicates he was tipped for big future roles— Alexander Clarkson (@APHClarkson) December 19, 2016
The attack condemned
The United Nations has condemned the attack on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, calling for the perpetrator to be brought to justice.
“We condemn the gun attack on the Russian ambassador to Turkey. There can be no justification for an attack on a diplomat or an ambassador,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
The US State Department, US ambassador to the UN and the British foreign secretary also condemned the attack.
Ambassador Bass: I condemn in the strongest terms the heinous attack on Ambassador Karlov tonight.— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) December 19, 2016
Security around the Russian embassy in Ankara has been stepped up following the shooting, the RIA news agency reported. The event at the art gallery at which the ambassador was speaking was to promote a photo exhibition about Russia.
The mayor of Ankara condemned the attack as a “heinous act” designed to disrupt Russian-Turkish relations.
Moscow has been militarily supporting Syrian President Assad’s forces in his government’s struggle against insurgents.
Relations between Moscow and Ankara have long been fraught over the conflict, with the two supporting opposing sides.
Strongly condemn heinous murder of Russian Ambassador in #Ankara. Our thoughts & prayers are w/ his family. Condolences
mfa_russia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lavrov?src=hash">#Lavrov</a></p>— Ditmir Bushati (ditmirbushati) December 19, 2016
Russia & Turkey I hope for all your citizens that your leaders can put peace & reconciliation first today. Thinking of you.— Gav (@miracleofsound) December 19, 2016