Berlin murder: Germany expels two Russian diplomats

Khangoshvili Man arrested for murder of Chechan dissident- 02 Sep 2019 Vadim Andreevich Sokolov 49 born in Irkutsk Siber

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.

"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.

German federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they are taking over investigations into the murder of a Georgian asylum-seeker in Berlin, confirming earlier reports.

After the murder in August a Russian spokesman said it had nothing to do with Russia or its authorities.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian national, was shot twice in the head at close range in Kleiner Tiergarten park on 23 August, allegedly by a Russian man who was arrested shortly afterwards.

More news: Russia's Putin signs bill targeting journalists and bloggers

Federal prosecutors in Germany take over investigations when there is a strong suspicion of involvement by a foreign state.

Russia, which denies any involvement, responded swiftly, saying it would retaliate for what it called Germany's "unfriendly" move. He was also known by a second identity "Tornike K." which was the one used by German prosecutors.

Manana Tsatieva, Khangoshvili's ex-wife, told German worldwide broadcaster Deutsche Welle that she believes her late husband's history likely motivated the attack.

Berlin's decision marks an escalation in already heightened tensions between Russia and Germany and other Western countries following the poisoning previous year of a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter on British soil. He had previously survived multiple assassination attempts and continued to receive threats after fleeing to Germany.

Relations between Britain and Russia plunged into a deep freeze after the incident, which led to the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats around the world.

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