Published: Thu, December 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Russia Responds to Germany's 'Groundless' Expulsion of Diplomats

Russia Responds to Germany's 'Groundless' Expulsion of Diplomats

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who had previously fought alongside anti-Moscow separatists in Chechnya, was shot twice in the head in a central Berlin park in August as he was heading to a mosque.

'We are forced to carry out a series of retaliatory measures, ' a representative of the Russian foreign ministry said.

The German investigation is also looking into a possible link to officials in Chechnya, a republic within the Russian Federation that has its own constitution but is still controlled by Moscow. He is also reported to have survived a May 2015 attempt on his life in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

In this August 29, 2019 file photo people carry the body of the victim who has been identified as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was shot dead in Berlin.

"The suspect in the Berlin murder was arrested the same day while trying to dispose of a gun into a canal, and he's refused to cooperate during questioning", NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Berlin.

Senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, an authority on foreign policy, said Germany should expect to have two of its diplomats expelled from Russia as a "symmetrical" measure.

Over the past two days Russian and German law enforcement authorities have met in Moscow to discuss collaboration, Russia's prosecutor general's office said in a statement.

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. What relation to the Russian authorities [does this have]?,' said Peskov.

Federal prosecutors in charge of intelligence cases earlier on Wednesday said they had taken over the investigation.

Putin is set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for Ukraine summit talks in Paris on December 9.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday there are "no serious suspicions there, and there can't be".

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. Khangoshvili participated in Second Chechen War as well as in 2008 August War between Georgia and Russia, fighting against the Russian forces. The company's fax number was one used by two firms that are operated by the Russian Defense Ministry, prosecutors said.

Russia's foreign ministry promised a response to Wednesday's move by Germany, which it described as unfriendly and unfounded.

The current case follows the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter who were poisoned with a nerve agent on British soil a year ago.

Prosecutors describe Vadim K as a suspect in the 2013 murder of a Russian businessman in Moscow.

Like this: