Russia’s state news agency said Andrey Karlov had died at the scene of gunshot wounds. Earlier it was reported Mr Karlov had been hospitalised and several other people wounded, NTV and CNN-Turk televisions said. The attack came after days of protests in Turkey over Russia’s role in Syria, although Moscow and Ankara are now working closely together to evacuate citizens from Aleppo.
The shooter, who is believed to have been a radical Islamist, was then killed by special forces, who quickly raided the museum. According to CNN Türk, several other individuals — as many as three people— were also injured in the attack.
Regional expert Orkhan Dzhemal told The Moscow Times that he believes the attacker most likely belonged to the Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization, which has been banned in Russia. Dzhemal says the group is weaker now in Turkey than it was a few years ago, but it remains strong enough to carry out an act like this.
The assassination comes one day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu planned to visit Moscow, to discuss cooperation on the war in Syria with Russian and Iranian officials.
In video footage shared on social media, several gunshots rang out, and Karlov collapsed to the ground, apparently killed instantly. He was shot as he addressed a crowd gathered for the opening of the “Russia Through a Turk’s Eyes” photo exhibition. The attacker, who appeared to be in his late twenties or early thirties, screamed “Allah Akhbar!” when opening fire.
Outside the museum, first responders have rushed to the scene.
Russia and Turkey have been involved in conflict in Syria across the border from where over 2 million Syrian refugees have settled. Turkey has been a staunch opponent of President Bashar al-Assad while Russia has deployed troops and its air force in support of the Syrian leader.