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Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated during speech in Ankara

By Andrew V. Pestano
Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated during speech in Ankara
Russia's ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is seen in this image speaking during a meeting in Ankara in 2014. Karlov was shot and killed Monday while giving a speech at an art exhibition in Ankara. The attacker was shot dead. File Photo by European Pressphoto Agency

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Russia's ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot to death Monday while giving a speech at a photography exhibit in Ankara.

Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed Karlov's death, Hürriyet Daily News.

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Three other people were taken to central Ankara's Güven Hospital with injuries.

The gunman was shot dead at the scene.

During the attack, he made remarks about the Syrian war, according to a graphic video on the Dutch website nos.nl:

"Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria! As long as our brothers are not safe, you will not enjoy safety. ... Whoever has a share in this oppression will pay for it one-by-one."

In September 2015, Russia began carrying out airstrikes and other operations to help ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian media identified the gunman as Turkish police officer Mert Altintas. Witnesses said he let people leave the building after he shot down Karlov.

Karlov was born in Moscow in 1954. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1976, when he started his diplomatic career. He served in different positions in Russia and the Soviet Union's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Previously, he worked for Soviet Union's embassy in North Korea and remained working there for Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union until 1997. He was appointed as Russia's ambassador to Turkey in July 2013.

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