Ambassador’s murder won’t affect Moscow-Ankara relations as terrorists planned – Russia’s UK envoy
He added that security at the Russian embassy in London has been stepped up, “We improved our security, made it stronger” after the killing of the Russian diplomat Andrey Karlov late on Monday, Yakovenko said.
“If we’re talking about London, it’s not just the diplomats. The whole population is experiencing this risk,” he said, adding that the authorities now estimate the level of terrorist threat in the British capital as ‘orange’ or second to highest.
“That’s why the special services of the UK are doing it’s best to prevent any terrorist acts. And we have official reports that they were successful, but the pressure is growing,” the diplomat stressed.
He expressed belief that the attack in Ankara “was aimed to distort the Russian-Turkish relations” because “the terrorists aren’t happy with the developing cooperation between Russia and Turkey in anti-terrorism.”
However, Yakovenko said that he’s confident that this tragic incident won’t affect relations between Moscow and Ankara.
“We see the willingness of Turkey to investigate this. There was a very fast reaction from Ankara. And Ankara is cooperating in full with us,” he said.
The ambassador criticized the mainstream media for claims that Moscow will now use the Ankara tragedy to its advantage by presenting it as a proof that there’s no moderate opposition, but only terrorists in Syria.
After shooting Karlov in the back, the Ankara attacker reportedly shouted: “Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!”
Considering the “biased” and “one-sided” reporting in the west of the events in Aleppo, “it was very difficult for some of the journalists in the mainstream media to change their attitude,” Yakovenko said.
He said the Russian embassy in London had received numerous messages of support, including “emails, telephone calls” from ordinary UK citizens.
“It’s not all about media. This is about the regular people… I got a call from the UK Foreign Office just maybe five minutes after the terrorist act from Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs). He sent his condolences and there was a reaction from the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson,” the ambassador said.
“The official London and the people of Britain are on our side of condemning this terrorist act,” he said.
Referring to Karlov’s killing, Yakovenko added that the “tragedy to certain extent a quite symbolic one. That’s just another proof that there can’t be compromises and double standards to fight with terrorists.”
The killer of the Russian ambassador to Turkey was identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old officer with the Turkish riot police for the past 2.5 years. He was gunned down in a shootout with security forces.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has called the incident “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.”
Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, echoed President Putin’s remarks, expressing hope that the killing of the ambassador won’t affect relations between Moscow and Ankara.