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19 Dec, 2016 17:30

Russia says killing of ambassador in Ankara is act of terrorism

Russia says killing of ambassador in Ankara is act of terrorism

The attack on Russian envoy Andrey Karlov, who died of gunshot wounds received during an official event in the Turkish capital, Ankara, is qualified by Moscow as a "terrorist act," the Foreign Ministry says.

Follow LIVE UPDATES on gun attack in Ankara

Announcing Karlov's death, the ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the "day is tragic in the history of the Russian diplomacy." The ambassador was shot at a public event in the Turkish capital, the ministry confirmed, saying that he later died of his wounds.

The topic of the killing of the Russian diplomat will be raised at the UN Security Council on Monday, Zakharova said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry will issue a statement later in the day, she added.

Moscow will resolutely fight terrorism, Zakharova said, adding that Russia expects Turkish authorities to launch a "thorough" investigation into the murder.

Calling Karlov "an outstanding Russian diplomat," Zakharova said that the ambassador "had done a lot to fight terrorism."

"His memory will remain in our hearts forever," she said, adding that Moscow will make sure those behind the murder "will be punished."

The "hideous" murder of the diplomat should not impede the progress of talks on Syria, scheduled to be held among Russia, Iran and Turkey on Tuesday, Russian MP and head of the International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, said. Speaking to Russia's Rossiya 24 TV channel, Slutsky said that Moscow and Ankara should ramp up their efforts in order to achieve a solution to the Syrian crisis.

"We must now do it in the memory of Andrey Gennadievich Karlov, and we must do it for the sake of common sense, which calls us to preserve normal relations between Moscow and Ankara," the official said.

Andrey Karlov was shot as he was set to deliver a speech at the opening of a photo exhibition titled ‘Russia in the eyes of Turks’. The unidentified perpetrator, a man wearing a suit and a tie, shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic) during the attack. He also referenced the crisis in Syria and Aleppo after the shooting, saying that those involved in the Syrian conflict “will pay for it one by one.” The attacker was killed by Turkish Special Forces.