In a televised statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara a clear provocation aimed at derailing the Syrian peace negotiations.
Putin also confirmed that Russia had opened a criminal investigation into the shooting of Andrey Karlov, as well as calling for increased security at its embassies around the globe.
In a televised address from the Kremlin, Putin praised the work of Karlov, after the ambassador was shot in the back at an art gallery in Ankara.
“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,” Putin said.
“There can only be one response – stepping up the fight against terrorism. The bandits will feel this happening.”
Russia and Turkey had both been involved in attempting to broker a deal to bring a four-year long conflict in Syria to an end, with Putin’s government previously being accused of war crimes in relation to its support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The gunman is reported to have shouted “don’t forget about Aleppo” shortly before being shot dead by police.
“I also ask you to implement the agreed proposals on strengthening security at Russian diplomatic facilities abroad,” Putin told the meeting.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed a similar tone in a public speech on Monday, referring to the attack as a “provocation to damage the normalisation process of Turkish-Russian relations.”