Putin: Will send investigators to Ankara to probe killing

'The crime that was committed is without doubt a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria that is being actively advanced by Russia, Turkey and Iran,' Putin said. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Moscow, Russia Dec 19, 2016, 08.41 PM (IST)

Russia President Vladimir Putin on Monday called the killing of Russia`s ambassador in Turkey a "provocation" aimed at sabotaging warming ties between Moscow and Ankara and efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria. 

"The crime that was committed is without doubt a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria that is being actively advanced by Russia, Turkey and Iran," Putin said.

"There can be only one answer to this -- stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this," he said at a meeting with Russia's foreign minister and the heads of the overseas and domestic intelligence agencies. 

The Kremlin strongman said that Moscow was sending investigators to Ankara to probe the killing after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the green light in a phone call.

"We have to know who directed the hand of the killer," Putin said.

Turkey and Russia saw relations plunge last year when a Turkish jet shot down a Russian war plane over Syria.

The two countries stand on opposite sides of the Syria conflict with Ankara backing rebels trying to topple Moscow ally President Bashar al-Assad.

But the two leaders managed to mend ties this year. 

(AFP)