Wednesday, 12 August, 2020


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

Forensic experts scour the crime scene in a park in Berlin's Moabit district Forensic experts scour the crime scene in a park in Berlin's Moabit district Credit DPA
Bennie Garza | 04 December, 2019, 15:39

The German foreign ministry also announced that two employees at Russia's embassy in Berlin had been designated personae non grate and were expelled.

"Serious and prompt participation of the Russian authorities remains crucial from the government's point of view, the more so, since the prosecutor-general's office has taken over the investigation, because there is enough evidence indicating that the murder was committed either at the request of bodies of state power or the authorities of the Chechen Republic as part of the Russian Federation", the statement says.

The case threatens to inflame tensions between Russian Federation and Germany, and prosecutors' spokesman Markus Schmitt told The Associated Press his office chose to take over the investigation from Berlin state prosecutors after the political nature of the case that has come to light.

German prosecutors said there was "currently no evidence" to suggest Khangoshvili was killed by "non-state actors".

Russia's foreign ministry promised a response to Wednesday's move by Germany, which it described as unfriendly and unfounded. The Kremlin has categorically denied its involvement, but the Russian government's unwillingness to illuminate the case has raised suspicions.

Khangoshvili fought against the Russians during the Second Chechen War from 1999 to 2009, and worked thereafter in both Georgia and Ukraine against Russian interests, according to Deutsche Welle.

He was carrying a Russian passport which identified him as Vadim Sokolov, but German prosecutors on Wednesday confirmed that they now believe that is a false identity.

Khangoshvili fled to Germany after surviving an assassination attempt in the Georgian capital Tbilisi in 2015. Khangoshvili's ex-wife, Manana Tsatieva, previously told DW: "We were warned that this would happen eventually".

The killing has been compared with the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Britain past year with a nerve agent, widely blamed on Russian intelligence. Two Russian agents attempted to murder the former Russian spy, leading to a total breakdown in diplomatic relations between London and Moscow.

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