Funeral Service Honors Russian Envoy Assassinated In Turkey
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Russia is paying its last respects to the country's ambassador to Turkey, who was assassinated in Ankara Monday night. As NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow, political life in the Russian capital came to a halt to remember the service of Andrei Karlov.
LUCIAN KIM, BYLINE: To the sound of a military band, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in a funeral service in the foreign ministry. Putin comforted Karlov's widow as Russia's ruling class assembled in a marble-clad hall. While an honor guard watched over Karlov's casket, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov remembered the fallen diplomat.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV: (Speaking Russian).
KIM: "Today, we're bidding farewell to our friend and colleague," Lavrov said, "who was the victim of a despicable, heinous terrorist act." The ambassador was shot in the Turkish capital as he opened a photo exhibition. Karlov's assassin has been identified as an off-duty Turkish policeman. Before he was killed by security forces, he shouted about avenging the carnage in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where Russian forces are fighting alongside the Syrian government army.
Putin called the murder a, quote, "provocation intended to disrupt improving relations between Turkey and Russia." Last year, relations were put on hold after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border. One of the pilots was killed. Since the summer, the two countries have been coming closer as Putin tries to use the political transition in the U.S. to solidify Russia's position as a leading power broker in the Middle East. Putin posthumously presented Karlov with the nation's highest honor, Hero of Russia.
MARTIN: Lucian Kim on NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.