Putin pays last re­spects to as­sas­si­nated diplo­mat

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES in Moscow

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.

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP

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.

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