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Pope sends condolences to family of murdered Russian ambassador

Members of a Turkish forces honour guard carry the Russian flag-draped coffin of Ambassador Andrei Karlov (AP)

Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the family of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey who was shot dead by an assassin on Monday.

In a telegram, sent on behalf of the Pope by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Russian president Vladimir Putin, Francis said he was “saddened to learn of the violent attack in Ankara, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Andrei Karlov”.

The telegram continued: “Pope Francis sends condolences to all who mourn his loss, and in a special way to the members of Ambassador Karlov’s family. In commending his soul to Almighty God, Pope Francis assures you and all the people of the Russian Federation of his prayers and spiritual solidarity at this time.”

Ambassador Karlov was shot dead as he gave a speech in Ankara on Monday. His killer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, an Ankara policeman, appeared to be protesting against Russia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war. He was later shot dead.