ISTANBUL // Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated on Monday by a lone gunman at an art gallery in the Turkish capital.
Andrei Karlov, 62, was shot as he gave a speech at a photography exhibition at the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi concert hall in the Cankaya district of Ankara. He was taken to hospital, where he died of his wounds. The killer was shot dead at the scene.
“We regard this as a terrorist act,” the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “The murderers will be punished.
“Today this issue will be raised at the UN Security Council. Terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively.”
On Tuesday, the UAE strongly condemned the shooting. In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the “heinous crime and renewed the UAE’s firm stand, in rejection of violence and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”, according to state news agency Wam.
The Ministry also reiterated the UAE’s full solidarity with Turkey and its support for all measures it might take in such circumstances.
The Ministry expressed condolences to Karlov’s family, to President Vladimir Putin and to the Russian government.
The mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, said the gunman was a Turkish police officer. Witnesses said the killer shouted “Aleppo” and “revenge” as he opened fire with about eight shots.
The assassination followed days of protests in Turkey over Russia’s role in Syria, although Moscow and Ankara are now working closely together to evacuate citizens from Aleppo.
The United Nations and the United States condemned the attack. “There can be no justification for an attack on a diplomat or an ambassador,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The US state department spokesman John Kirby said: “We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Karlov’s family.”
* Reuters and Agence France-Presse