Puppy love: Russia's gift to France replaces slain police dog

A Russian police officer holds a German shepherd puppy dog named Dobrynya during a handover ceremony at the French embassy in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 7, 2015.
A Russian police officer holds a German shepherd puppy dog named Dobrynya during a handover ceremony at the French embassy in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 7, 2015. PHOTO: EPA
French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert (right) holds a German shepherd puppy dog named Dobrynya during a presentation ceremony at the French embassy in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 7, 2015.
French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert (right) holds a German shepherd puppy dog named Dobrynya during a presentation ceremony at the French embassy in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 7, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia symbolically handed over a puppy to France on Monday (Dec 7) to replace a police dog called Diesel who was killed during a raid linked to the Nov 13 Paris attacks.

Igor Zubov, a deputy interior minister, handed the male German shepherd puppy named Dobrynya to French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert at a ceremony in Moscow attended by Russian and French soldiers.

Dobrynya, who must remain in quarantine for up to three months before leaving for his new home, was named after a medieval knight who was the incarnation of "strength, valour and justice", Zubov said.

"We all mourn the victims of the attacks," he said, referring to the coordinated attacks which killed 130, recalling that Diesel, a female Belgian shepherd, was killed five days later during a special ops raid on a flat where suspects linked to the attacks were holed up.

"In Russia, dogs who serve police are loved not only by the police but also by ordinary citizens," he said, adding that the gift was seen as "a symbol of the unity of our peoples in the implacable fight against terrorism."

Ripert called the seven-month-old puppy an "extraordinary gift".

Diesel died on Nov 18 during a massive police raid on an apartment in a northern suburb of Paris, which killed the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks, his female cousin and another as yet unidentified man.