Germany expels two Russian diplomats over assassination of Georgian man in Berlin

04 Décembre, 2019, 15:23 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Germany expels Russian diplomats after murder in Berlin

Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said Moscow could be behind the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in a Berlin park.

The victim, also known as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was shot twice in the head in a central Berlin park in August as he was heading to a mosque.

The suspect was riding a bicycle and was seen by witnesses afterwards throwing the bike and a stone-laden bag with a gun into a river.

He has been named by police only as Vadim S.

"The foreign ministry has today declared two employees of the Russian embassy in Berlin as personae non grata with immediate effect", the ministry said in a statement.

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The German foreign ministry said it was responding in this way because Russian authorities had not cooperated in investigations into the murder.

In a statement, prosecutors said there is "sufficient evidence" to indicate that the man's murder was carried out on the behalf of the Russian state or by Chechnya.

The case threatens to inflame tensions between Russian Federation and Germany, and prosecutors' spokesman Markus Schmitt told The Associated Press his office made a decision to take over the investigation from Berlin state prosecutors after the political nature of the case that has come to light. Prosecutors said he also went by the alias Vadim S., and German and global news outlets have reported he had links to organized crime in Russian Federation.

That attack was also blamed on Moscow - leading to the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats and triggered a diplomatic crisis between the United Kingdom and Russia.

The Berlin killing echoes the Skripal case in the United Kingdom previous year, when two Russian agents attempted to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. "We'll be forced to take a series of reciprocal measures", Russian news agencies quoted the ministry as saying. The attempted murder on British soil led to a breakdown in diplomatic relations between London and Moscow.

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