Russian envoy shot at in Turkey, wounded seriously

| Updated: Dec 20, 2016 04:22 IST

London [U.K.] Dec. 19 (ANI): Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was seriously wounded on Monday in a gun attack at an art gallery in the Turkish capital. According to reports, Karlov was attending the opening of an exhibition at a contemporary arts centre when he was attacked, reports the Guardian. According to a witness, Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the exhibit when a man shouted "Allahu Akbar" and fired at least eight shots. The attacker also said some words in Russian, and smashed some of the photographs. Turkey's NTV reported that the gunman had been killed by police. Turkish officials said the assassin entered the building claiming he was a police officer. Other bystanders alleged he shouted "Aleppo" when he shot Karlov, but the claims could not be immediately confirmed. The attacker was said to have first shot Karlov in the back, before ordering people to leave the room. He then reportedly shot a second time as he lay on the floor. Turkish special forces have surrounded the gallery, believing the attacker to still be inside. The Russian foreign ministry said it was in contact with Ankara over the events, RIA Novosti reported. The ambassador had been part of discussions between Turkey that led to an evacuation of east Aleppo getting underway late last week. He had also been a central conduit to the Turkish government's rapproachment with Moscow in April. The incident comes a day before the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavusoglu, is due in Moscow for talks with Russian and Iranian counterparts. Fatih Öke, the press attache of Turkey's embassy in Washington DC, wrote on Twitter: "The bullet to Ambassador Karlov is not only aims him. It aims also Turkish Russian relation. We are praying for his good health and peace." (ANI)