The Latest: China calls killing of Russian envoy 'barbaric'

AP News
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Posted: Dec 19, 2016 10:52 PM
The Latest: China calls killing of Russian envoy 'barbaric'

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The latest on the killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey (all times local):

6 a.m.

China's foreign minister has expressed condolences to his Russian counterpart on the killing of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, calling the assassination a "barbaric act of terrorism."

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday that China strongly condemns such actions targeting diplomatic personnel and was "resolutely opposed to all kinds of terrorism."

Wang says China is willing to work with the international community in "resolutely supporting" Russia's efforts to crack down on terrorism and will boost cooperation with Moscow on this front.

Chinese and Russian leaders have in recent years extolled the blossoming strategic partnership between the former communist rivals, despite a major decline in two-way trade and the failure to materialize a slew of ambitious projects.

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5:20 a.m.

The U.N. Security Council is condemning "in the strongest terms" the "terrorist attack" that assassinated Russia's ambassador to Turkey and is calling for the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors to be brought to justice.

A statement Monday night from the U.N.'s most powerful body reaffirms that all forms of terrorism pose one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. It says "that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed."

The council also expresses "deep condolences" to the family of Ambassador Andrei Karlov and the Russian government.

The council further stresses "the fundamental principle of the inviolability" of diplomats under the 1961 Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and reaffirms the need to combat threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

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1:30 a.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran will be held Tuesday as planned after the killing of the Russian ambassador to Ankara.

The key meeting about Syria will be held in Moscow a day after Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov, who has been serving in Turkey since 2013, was shot during a speech at a photography exhibition in Ankara. The gunman was later killed by police.

Lavrov said in televised remarks that "we are sure that those who staged that barbaric crime were seeking to derail the process of normalizing Russia-Turkey ties primarily with a goal to prevent an efficient fight against terrorism in Syria."

Lavrov says that "this attempt is futile. The steps we will take at the meeting tomorrow will thwart the plans of the organizers of that crime." (asterisk)

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1:20 a.m.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency says four people have been detained following the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey.

Turkish authorities say the shooter is 22-year-old Mevlut Mert Altintas, who has been serving in Ankara's riot police unit for the last two-and-a-half years.

Anadolu, without citing sources, said the shooter's family home in the western province of Aydin was searched and his mother, father and sister were detained.

Anadolu also says the man's house in Ankara was raided and his roommate, also a riot police officer, was detained.

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov, who has been serving in Turkey since 2013, was shot during a speech at a photography exhibition in Ankara. Altintas was later killed by police.

12:10 a.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned what he called a "senseless act of terror" that killed Russia's ambassador to Turkey, saying "there can be no justification."

He offered "deepest condolences to the Russian delegation" on the death of Ambassador Andrei Karlov.

Ban spoke at the start of a U.N. Security Council meeting on South Sudan on Monday afternoon.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric reiterated the U.N.'s condemnation and said "we very much hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice."

He said Ban "is following the unfolding situation closely and wishes the other people who were reportedly injured in the attack a speedy and full recovery."

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11:30 p.m.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tells Turkish reporters that he learned about the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey while he was flying to Moscow for a meeting with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.

Cavusoglu says the ambassador, Andrei Karlov, "was a good diplomat. He made considerable efforts to develop ties even at the most difficult of times ... He was a perfect man and a friend."

Cavusoglu says the attack was aimed at Russia, Turkey and Russian-Turkish relations.

He says such attacks "cannot harm our ties because we know the importance that the Turkish-Russian partnership has on the region."

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11 p.m.

The leaders of Turkey and Russia say the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey has been intended to ruin Russia-Turkey ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in televised remarks during a meeting with senior officials, said that the killing of Ambassador Andrei Karlov was a "provocation aimed at derailing Russia-Turkey ties and the peace process in Syria."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a video message being shown on several Turkish TV channels, says that "this is a provocation to damage the normalization process of Turkish-Russian relations. But both the Russian and Turkish administrations have the determination not to fall for this provocation."

Both leaders said that Russian investigators will be part of the official probe into the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara.

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10:45 p.m.

The White House is strongly condemning the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, saying "this heinous attack on a member of the diplomatic corps is unacceptable."

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price says the United States government's thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of Karlov and the other victims.

Price says "we offer our condolences to the Russian people and government."

Price also says the U.S. government stands united with Russia and Turkey in its determination to confront terrorism in all of its forms.

Karlov was several minutes into a speech in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

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10:40 p.m.

Senior Russian lawmakers are describing the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey as a provocation aimed to derail a rapprochement between the two nations.

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was gunned down Monday a day before the meeting of foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Moscow. The killing also comes amid efforts by Moscow and Ankara to broker Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital.

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the foreign affairs committee at the lower house of Russian parliament, said that unspecified opponents of Russia "are making desperate attempts to spoil ties between Russia and Turkey, but those attempts will fail."

He and other senior lawmakers called for even closer cooperation with Turkey and refrained from advising Russians to avoid visiting Turkey.

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10:25 p.m.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has condemned "in the strongest terms" the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey.

The ministry called the attack "terrorist and cowardly" in a statement late Monday.

The Russian-Turkish diplomatic channel is one of the most important to the Syrian civil war. Their diplomats brokered an agreement in Ankara last week to evacuate the Syrian opposition from the contested city of Aleppo after months of Syrian and Russian bombardment killed hundreds of civilians and exhausted the rebels — some backed by Turkey.

After shooting the ambassador, the gunman cried, "Don't forget Aleppo!"

Turkey's foreign and defense ministers are expected to meet in Moscow this week with their Iranian and Russian counterparts to discuss the next developments to the Syrian war.

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10:15 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey a "despicable attack."

Kerry said that the killing was "an assault on the right of all diplomats to safely and securely advance and represent their nations around the world."

He said that the U.S. is ready to offer help to Russia and Turkey in the investigation of the attack.

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at an embassy-sponsored photo exhibition in Ankara when he was shot. The assassin was later killed by police.

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10:05 p.m.

Turkey's interior minister says that the gunman who assassinated Russia's ambassador to Turkey was a policeman.

Suleyman Soylu said that the gunman was working for the riot police squad in Ankara for the past 2 1/2 years. He identified the attacker as Mevlut Mert Altintas, born in 1994.

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at an embassy-sponsored photo exhibition when he was shot. The assassin was later killed by police.

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9 p.m.

The gunman who killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition in Ankara shouted in Turkish "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!"

The man then yelled: "Stand back! Stand back! Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one."

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition when he was shot. The gunman also shouted "Allahu akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great." Police later killed the gunman, according to reports.

The attack comes a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defense ministers in Moscow to discuss Syria.

Russia and Iran have backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Turkey has supported Assad's foes.

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8:40 p.m.

The Russian ambassador to Turkey who was fatally shot in Ankara was a career diplomat.

Andrei Karlov was 62 and he joined the diplomatic service in 1976. He served as Russia's ambassador to Pyongyang in 2001-2006, and later worked as the chief of the Foreign Ministry's consular department. He had served as the ambassador to Turkey since 2013.

Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored photo exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

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8:35 p.m.

A Russian official says that the country's ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot by a gunman in Ankara.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made the announcement in a live televised statement.

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

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8:05 p.m.

The U.S. State Department has condemned the attack on the Russian ambassador in Turkey.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said that "we condemn this act of violence, whatever its source. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

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7:55 p.m.

Turkey's private NTV television says police have shot and killed the gunman who attacked the Russian ambassador in Ankara.

NTV television, citing police sources, said the gunman was killed in a police operation inside an exhibition hall where the attack occurred.

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

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7:45 p.m.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says that the country's ambassador to Turkey has been hospitalized with a gunshot wound after an attack at a photo exhibition in Ankara.

But Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova didn't give Ambassador Andrei Karlov's condition. Zakharova was speaking in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

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7:25 p.m.

An Associated Press photographer says a gunman has fired shots at the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador's condition wasn't immediately known.

The attack occurred Monday at a photo exhibition in the capital Ankara, where the ambassador was making an address.

Photographs from the scene showed a man lying on the ground with an armed man dressed in a suit standing near him.