Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Germany expels two Russians over killing of Georgian in Berlin

Germany expels two Russians over killing of Georgian in Berlin

Germany earlier on Wednesday said it was expelling two diplomats at the Russian embassy in Berlin over what it said was Moscow's refusal to cooperate in the investigation of a murder where German prosecutors suspect Russian or Chechen involvement.

The federal prosecutor took up the case earlier this week, to investigate suspected Kremlin links to the murder of 40-year-old Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen rebel commando with Georgian nationality, who had fought against Russian Federation in the second Chechen war in 2001-2005.

The suspect was detained shortly after the killing when he was allegedly seen dumping a bike, pistol and a wig into the nearby River Spree.

He has been named by police only as Vadim S.

Both accredited diplomats at the Russia Embassy were reportedly intelligence officers and were declared persona non grata with immediate effect and ordered to leave Germany within seven days.

Federal prosecutors in charge of intelligence cases said they had taken over the investigation from Berlin authorities.

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It said he was 54-year-old Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov and that he grew up in Kazakhstan when it was part of the Soviet Union before spending time in Siberia. The victim in that attack was also approached by a man on a bicycle who shot him in the back of the head.

Russian Federation put Krasikov on an Interpol wanted list but later withdrew his name and "facilitated the issuance of a new, false identity for him", Bellingcat said.

In their statement, German prosecutors said he was "classified as a terrorist by Russian authorities and persecuted as such".

Russia, meanwhile, has pledged "retaliatory measures" following the expulsions. The decision is "effective immediately", as follows from the Foreign Ministry's statement published on Wednesday.

Berlin's decision marks an escalation in already heightened tensions between Russia and Germany and other Western countries following the poisoning a year ago of a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter on British soil.

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.

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