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Envoy killing aimed at Russia-Turkey ties, Syria peace efforts: Putin

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President Vladimir Putin on Monday 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.

“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,” Putin said in televised comments.

“There can be only one answer to this — stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this,” he said at a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister and the heads of the overseas and domestic intelligence agencies.

The Kremlin strongman said that Moscow was sending investigators to Ankara to probe the killing after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the green light in a phone call.

“We have to know who directed the hand of the killer,” Putin said.

Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot dead Monday at an art exhibition opening in Ankara by a Turkish policeman crying “Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar”, in what Moscow termed a “terrorist act”.

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.

The foreign and defence ministers from Russia, Turkey and Iran are set to meet Tuesday in Moscow for key talks on Syria.

Turkey and Russia saw relations plunge last year when a Turkish jet shot down a Russian war plane over Syria.

The two countries stand on opposite sides of the Syria conflict with Ankara backing rebels trying to topple Moscow ally President Bashar al-Assad.

But Putin and Erdogan have managed to mend ties since patching up their bitter seven-month dispute over the jet downing earlier this year.


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Vladimir Putin

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