A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman told reporters on Monday that the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, had died after being shot by a gunman.

“Today in Ankara as a result of an attack, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov, received a wound from which he died,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Dramatic television footage showed a man in a dark suit and tie waving a gun and gesturing in the air at the Ankara exhibition hall. A photograph posted on Twitter showed him holding a pistol, standing close to a podium in the gallery, its walls hung with pictures. Four people including what appeared to be the ambassador lay on the floor.

Numerous reports on social media identified the gunman as a police personnel. “The attacker is a policeman,” Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek said on his official Twitter account.

The gunman in the attack has been “neutralised”, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Russia has called the killing a ‘terrorist attack.’

Hurriyet newspaper’s English website said ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot while making a speech and that Turkish special forces had surrounded the building. NTV said three other people were wounded.

CNN Turk television said shooting was continuing in the building.
Security around the Russian embassy in Ankara has been stepped up following the incident.

The attack occurred on the eve of a key meeting between the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers on the Syria conflict. Russia has said the talks will go ahead on Tuesday.

Russia and Turkey have been involved in conflict in Syria across the border from where over two 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.