MOSCOW, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Russia has sent a task force comprising 18 members from its special services, the Investigative Committee and the Foreign Ministry, to Turkey to probe the murder of the country's ambassador, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

"The group will operate in Turkey to investigate the murder of ambassador Andrei Karlov. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached an agreement over the matter during a telephone conversation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Karlov was killed by a gunman at an art exhibition on Monday in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Putin described the murder as "a provocation aimed at derailing the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations and the peace process in Syria."

The incident came ahead of a meeting between the top diplomats of Russia, Turkey and Iran on the Syrian crisis, which is scheduled for Tuesday in Moscow.