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Slain Russian Ambassador To Turkey Commemorated In Moscow A Year After His Killing

People lay flowers during a ceremony to unveil a commemorative plaque dedicated to Russia's slain ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, in Moscow on December 19.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has presided over a ceremony honoring the Russian ambassador to Turkey who was shot dead in Ankara a year ago.

On December 19, the anniversary of Andrei Karlov's killing, Lavrov unveiled a large plaque commemorating the diplomat on the facade of the Moscow apartment building where he used to live.

Lavrov said that Karlov was killed while performing his duties as a diplomat and added: "Today’s ceremony is another step to immortalize his memory."

Karlov was shot while speaking at a photography exhibit in the Turkish capital by an attacker who shouted "Don't forget Aleppo!" and other words that seemed to refer to Russia's involvement in the war in neighboring Syria.

Relatives, Foreign Ministry, and Moscow city officials attended the ceremony in Moscow, as did a Russian Orthodox priest. Among Orthodox Christians in Russia, one year after a person's death is traditionally marked as a final farewell.

The killing did little damage to a Russian-Turkish rapprochement that was taking place at the time, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeking to mend ties.

Russia and Turkey support opposing sides in the Syrian war, and their relationship was badly damaged when Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in November 2015.

Turkish authorities said Karlov's killer was Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old policeman who was off-duty at the time. Altintas was shot dead by police at the scene.

Turkish officials have said they have arrested several other people suspected of involvement in the ambassador's killing over the past year.

On December 13, media reports in Turkey said authorities arrested a former police officer, Ramazan Yucel, in Ankara.

In November, a former producer at the state-run TRT television channel, Hayreddin Aydinbas, was arrested in the case.

Russia has given crucial military and diplomatic help in the nearly seven-year war in Syria, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes. Turkey supports rebels seeking Assad's ouster.

With reporting by Interfax and RIA Novosti
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