Russian ambassador killing: Funeral held in Moscow

Marina Karlova (seated, R), the widow of killed Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, and his mother Maria (seated, L) are surrounded by mourners (22 Dec) Image copyright EPA
Image caption The funeral was held at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral

A funeral has taken place in Moscow for the Russian ambassador assassinated as he gave a speech in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

The body of Andrei Karlov, shot by off-duty Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, was flown home on Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony at the foreign ministry before the state funeral.

After the shooting, the killer shouted the murder was in revenge for Russian involvement in Aleppo.

There had been fears the shooting could derail relations between the two countries, however both have stressed this is not the case, BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford reports.

Teams from Russia and Turkey are working together on the murder investigation.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption During the ceremony Mr Putin spoke to the ambassador's widow Marina Karlova

The sombre ceremony began with mourners including Mr Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov laying flowers beside the late ambassador's open casket in the foreign ministry.

The coffin was then taken to the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow where Orthodox Patriarch Kirill spoke of the murdered envoy as a "martyr".

Turkey says goodbye to ambassador

Andrei Karlov's coffin was returned to Russia after a ceremony at Esenboga airport, attended by senior officials and an honour guard of six Turkish soldiers.

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Media captionThe wife and mother of the murdered diplomat - Marina Karlova and Maria Karlova - wept over his coffin

In highly unusual scenes for a Muslim country, a Russian Orthodox priest said prayers and swung incense over the coffin, while a Turkish soldier stood holding a picture of the murdered diplomat.

Andrei Karlov's widow Marina wept at the ceremony in Turkey. She was present when Altintas, 22, opened fire on her husband, who took up his posting in Ankara in 2013.

It was not clear if Altintas, an Ankara riot police member who was later shot dead in a gun fight with Turkish officers, had links to any militant group.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Andrei Karlov gave a speech on Monday, unaware the man behind him was about to open fire

Karlov, 62, was a veteran diplomat who had served as Soviet ambassador to North Korea for much of the 1980s.

During his time in Ankara he had to grapple with a major crisis when a Turkish plane shot down a Russian jet close to the Syrian border.

Demanding a Turkish apology, Moscow imposed damaging sanctions - notably a freeze on charter flights by Russian tourists - and the two countries only recently mended ties.

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