Germany expels Russian diplomats over Berlin murder
Dec 05 2019
A Russian suspect Vadim S., 49, was arrested on suspicion of murder a week after the killing the Chechen war veteran.
Tsatieva said Khangoshvili escaped to Germany in 2016 after multiple attempts against his life in Georgia, but was denied asylum here.
An ethnic Chechen with a Georgian passport was gunned down by an assailant who approached from behind on a bicycle in a public park in Berlin's Moabit district.
Authorities apprehended him shortly thereafter and later found the bicycle, a wig, and the weapon used in the murder ditched in the Spree River.
The German Foreign Office informed the Russian ambassador to Berlin, Sergei Netschajew, that two of his employees were considered personae non gratae with immediate effect, citing the Kremlin's refusal to cooperate in investigations into the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.
In their statement, German prosecutors said he was "classified as a terrorist by Russian authorities and persecuted as such".
The Russian foreign ministry representative said Germany's statements were "groundless and hostile".
Germany's decision to expel the two Russian diplomats was taken because of the lack of assistance, Merkel said, adding that the measure was not expected to affect the Ukraine summit.
"Such German action will have a strong negative impact on the Russian-German relations and naturally will not be left unanswered", Nechaev said in a statement.
Federal prosecutors took over the investigation from Berlin state prosecutors after the political nature of the case became evident, spokesman Markus Schmitt told The Associated Press.
Speaking on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in London, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she planned to talk about the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when she meets with him face-to-face next weeks for talks on the Ukraine peace process in France. Zelimkhan Khangoshvili fought against Russian forces in the Second Chechen War.
In response to the expulsion orders, Russian Federation says it will retaliate in kind, with officials saying German diplomats may now be expelled from Russian Federation, as the Interfax news agency reports.
Prosecutors said his visa for travelling to Europe indicated he was a civil engineer working for a company in Saint Petersburg. Upon arrival, he extended his room to August 26, but left at 8 a.m. on August 22 and never returned, prosecutors said.
RTE says that the killing has been compared with the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Britain previous year with a nerve agent, widely blamed on Russian intelligence.
Krasikov was the subject of an global arrest warrant issued by Russian authorities in 2014 for a murder a year prior in Moscow - a killing that bore hallmarks similar to the Berlin assassination.