In a televised address during a special meeting at the Kremlin on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the assassination of Moscow’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, and vowed to punish those responsible for the attack.
Claiming the shooting was orchestrated to disrupt a peaceful solution to the Syria crisis, Putin said the offenders would “feel the heat.”
“This murder is clearly 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 solving this conflict in Syria,” Putin said.
“The only response we should offer to this murder is stepping up our fight against terror.”
Explaining details of the Kremlin’s response, Mr. Putin revealed he had instructed Russian intelligence agencies to form a working group to identify those responsible and that the Kremlin would be coordinating with Turkish officials in the investigation.
Mr. Putin also disclosed he had secured the full cooperation of Turkish president, Recep Erdogan.
Ambassador Karlov, 62, was assassinated Monday as he spoke at the opening of an Ankara art exhibit by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a 22-year-old off-duty Ankara policeman.
Altıntaş shouted “Allahu Ackbar” and used language often associated with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Kremlin Press Service via The Moscow Times]