Envoy's killing designed to spoil ties: Putin

President Vladimir Putin called the killing of Russia's ambassador in Turkey a "provocation" aimed at sabotaging warming ties between Moscow and Ankara and efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria.

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Moscow, Dec 20: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the killing of the Russian Ambassador to Ankara is designed to spoil the Russia-Turkey ties. Putin said Andrey Karlov's killing in the Turkish capital was also intended to derail Moscow's attempts to find, with Iran and Turkey, a solution for the Syria crisis, the Independent reported on Monday. He said Russian investigators have opened a criminal case into the killing.

Envoy's killing designed to spoil ties

In televised comments, Putin, speaking at a special meeting in the Kremlin, 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. He heaped praise on the murdered Russian ambassador, who was shot at as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery, and made clear that Moscow's response to his assassination would be robust.

"A crime has been committed and it was without doubt a provocation aimed at spoiling the normalisation of Russo-Turkish relations and spoiling the Syrian peace process which is being actively pushed by Russia, Turkey, Iran and others," said a stern-faced Putin. "There can only be one response - stepping up the fight against terrorism. The bandits will feel this happening."

Putin, who said he personally knew the slain envoy, said he had agreed in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Russian investigators would soon fly to Ankara to help the Turks with the investigation. "We must know who directed the killer's hand," Putin told 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.

Putin ordered security at Turkish diplomatic facilities in Russia to be stepped up and said he wanted guarantees from Turkey about the safety of Russian diplomatic facilities. "I also ask you to implement the agreed proposals on strengthening security at Russian diplomatic facilities abroad," Putin told the meeting.

-ANS

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