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Kremlin deeply regrets former Japanese PM Abe’s death after being shot

Dmitry Peskov said with regret that there was a lack of political will of that high degree in a range of countries

MOSCOW, July 8. /TASS/ The Kremlin deeply regrets the death of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe after being shot and expresses its condolences to the people of Japan, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"We are deeply saddened by the news from Japan. We resolutely condemn the attack on the former prime minister, Mr. Abe. We expect [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to send a telegram of condolences shortly <…>. Our deepest condolences to the people of Japan," the Kremlin spokesman said.

"Mr. Abe was, indeed, a patriot of Japan, he always stood for the interests of his country, while pursuing diplomatic solutions. This is why he had very good relations with [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin," Peskov noted.

He said with regret that there was a lack of political will of that high degree in a range of countries.

"They have been stating openly that they prefer protecting their interests on a battlefield which may stall any progress," Peskov cautioned.

Putin and Abe held more than 25 tete-a-tete meetings. They attended opening and closing ceremonies for years of cultural exchange between the two countries in 2018 and 2019, talked to the ISS crews over video links, and attended a gala reception of the Stars of the White Nights music festival near St. Petersburg as well as judo competitions. They last met in the fall of 2019.

Abe was shot when he was delivering a speech at an election campaign event in Nara on Friday. He was shot twice by a 41-year-old Japanese, Tatsuya Yamagami. Doctors at Nara Medical University officially announced Abe’s death after attempts to save his life failed.