Dec 19, 2016
Updated 3pm EST:
Leaders of Russia and Turkey both publicly condemned the assassination of Andrei Karlov, Russia's ambassador to Turkey, on Monday and said the killing would not derail efforts towards peace in Syria.
|Tweets about Turkey Russia Ambassador|
"This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Monday evening. He added that the "only response" that Moscow "should offer" is "stepping up the fight against terrorism."
Similarly, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said "Turkey-Russia relations were vital for the region and those who aimed to harm ties were not going to achieve their goals," the Jerusalem Postreports.
Officials also said that the scheduled meeting in Moscow between leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey on the situation in Aleppo will still place Tuesday, despite the killing.
Updated 1pm EST:
Russia's Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, has been declared dead, the Russian embassy confirmed Monday, after a gunman shot the official in the back while speaking at a photography exhibition in Ankara, Turkey.
"This is a tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy. Today, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov died after being shot at during a public event in Ankara," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
Zakharova called the assault "an act of terrorism."
In response, the Turkish government has reportedly issued a gag order preventing media from covering the assassination.
According to reports, the assailant "has been shot dead by Turkish security forces."
During the attack, the shooter, who was dressed like a security officer, was overheard shouting: "We die in Aleppo, you die here."
After firing at the ambassador, the man, dressed in a suit and tie, shouted in Turkish: "Don't forget Aleppo. Don't forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won't enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price."
He also shouted in Arabic: "We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad."
RIA Novosti reported that Karlov died at the scene, which was later confirmed by the Russian foreign ministry.
Videos of the assassination are being shared widely on social media. (Warning: graphic violence below)
Russia's ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was reportedly shot Monday in Ankara, Turkey and appears to be "in a critical state."
According to the embassy "Karlov was shot by a gun while making a speech at a painting exhibition in the Turkish capital," Turkish news outlet Hurriyet reported.
Specifically, the photography exhibition was entitled, "Russia through the Eyes of Turks," Tass Newsreports. Eye witnesses told the Russian news outlet that the attacker "cried out 'Get away from here.'"
The attack comes as the Russia-Turkey brokered ceasefire continued in Aleppo, Syria amid a tenuous attempt at peace talks between the nations, leading many to speculate that the attack could have far-reaching implications.
As Hurriyet notes, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is scheduled to meet in Moscow on Tuesday "for talks on Syria with his Russian and Iranian counterparts."
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