Putin pays last respects to assassinated diplomat
Russian President Vladimir Putin bade farewell on Thursday to Andrei Karlov at a packed memorial ceremony in Moscow for the diplomat who was assassinated in Turkey by an off-duty police officer.
Dozens of colleagues and relatives attended the ceremony for Karlov, the ambassador to Turkey who was gunned down in Ankara on Monday by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “Don’t forget Aleppo”. The ambassador fell to the ground and later died at a hospital.
Putin laid red roses at the foot of Karlov’s casket and spoke with his relatives but left the ceremony without making a statement.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov praised the deceased envoy, who was 62, and paid his respects to Karlov’s family at the somber memorial ceremony at the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters.
“We are saying goodbye to our friend Andrei Karlov, who became the victim of a malicious, vile terrorist attack while in the line of duty,” Lavrov said. “We will never forget Andrei.”
Karlov was a Soviet-trained diplomat who formerly worked in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea and was sent to Turkey in 2013.
Russia and Turkey have branded the assassination a failed attempt to derail rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara that has seen them cooperate more closely over Syria, where they have backed different sides in the conflict.
Turkish authorities have identified the assassin as Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, who had worked for Ankara’s riot police.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the killing on the network of United States-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Gulen has denied. The Kremlin has said it was too early to say who was behind the killing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offers condolences to the widow of the slain Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov at the funeral ceremony in Moscow on Thursday.