Vladimir Putin tonight condemned the killing of the Russian ambassador as a ‘provocation’ aimed at sabotaging ties between Moscow and Ankara.
The Russian president said the death of Andrei Karlov, 62, was designed to ‘disrupt the peace process in Syria’ as he vowed to ‘step up the fight against terrorism’.
He ordered security at Russian embassies around the world to be stepped up and said he wanted to know who had ‘directed’ the gunman’s hand.
Russian investigators will be sent to Ankara to investigate the killing, he said at the meeting tonight. Moscow has branded the killing as a ‘terrorist act’.
Meanwhile Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said both he and Putin had agreed they must work together in the fight against terrorism as he reiterated the ties between their two countries.
The fatal shooting took place a day after protests in Turkey over Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Tomorrow Moscow is due to host Turkey and Iran’s foreign ministers for talks on the evacuation of civilians from Aleppo.
Speaking at a special meeting at the Kremlin tonight, Putin said: ‘The crime that was committed is without doubt a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria that is being actively advanced by Russia, Turkey and Iran.
The president was in a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of his SVR foreign intelligence service, and Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the domestic FSB security service.
‘I also ask you to implement the agreed proposals on strengthening security at Russian diplomatic facilities abroad,’ Putin told the meeting.
In a video message broadcast on Turkish television, 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 incident came after days of protests in Turkey over Russia’s role in Syria, although Moscow and Ankara are now working closely together to evacuate citizens from the battered city of Aleppo.