Germany Expels Russian Diplomats After Execution-Style Murder In Berlin Park
German federal prosecutors say there is “sufficient evidence” to indicate that Russia or Chechnya were involved in the murder of a Georgian asylum-seeker in Berlin, according to Deutsche Welle.
Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, was shot in an “execution-style” killing in late August at Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten park. The suspect, a 49-year-old Russian national, shot the victim in the head and chest.
According to German prosecutors, Khangoshvili was “classified as a terrorist by Russian authorities and persecuted as such,” for working in both Ukraine and Georgia against Russian interest following the Second Chechen War from 1999 to 2009.
The German Foreign Ministry subsequently expelled two employees at the Russian Embassy in Berlin after Russian authorities failed to “cooperate sufficiently” in the murder investigation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week for talks on the Ukraine peace process in France, but told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London, “We have received no active help from Russia in solving the case.”
“That says something about the significance of this crime. The government is still discussion what further consequences we will draw from this,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned Germany’s actions as “unfriendly” and “baseless,” in response while a senior Russian lawmaker, Leonid Slutsky, warned that Germany should expect to have two of its diplomats expelled from Russia as a “symmetrical” measure.