Germany expels Russian diplomats in probe of Berlin killing

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

Separately, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the same day that there were "no serious suspicions there, and there can't be".

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, an ethnic Kist/Chechen from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge was shot dead from a close range in central Berlin's Kleiner Tiergarten Park on August 23 as he was on his way to a mosque.

"In bilateral relations, it is of course notable that we unfortunately received no active help in clarifying this incident", Merkel said.

"There is sufficient factual evidence to suggest that the killing. was carried out either on behalf of state agencies of the Russian Federation or those of the Autonomous Chechen Republic", the prosecutors said.

The German Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the expulsion comes after Russian authorities did not answer repeated requests by Germany to help shed light on the slaying in August of Tornike K.

Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, head of the Duma's foreign affairs committee, called Germany's expulsion of diplomats "completely crooked logic".

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.

Khangoshvili was shot in May, 2015 and underwent surgery in Tbilisi, Georgia [after which he fled to Ukraine].

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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 added that now that the Russian state has been implicated in the crime, Moscow should start cooperating in the case "to avoid a further loss of confidence".

He has until now been named by police only as Vadim S but evidence revealed by German prosecutors on Wednesday indicated a possible fake identity. That request was canceled on July 7, 2015, and a person with the identity of Vadim S. first appears on September 3, 2015, with a Russian passport.

Vadim S is an alias, prosecutors say. But when the prosecutor's office checked those records in Russian Federation, it found the company had only one employee. The company's fax number was one used by two firms that are operated by the Russian Defense Ministry, prosecutors said.

Vadim S is then said to have flown to Warsaw where he stayed in a hotel until 22 August.

The case has been compared with the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Britain past year with a Soviet-era nerve agent, widely blamed on Russian intelligence.

The Kremlin has previously denied any Russian government involvement in the murder.

Afterward, Western nations banded together to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats they accused of being spies, including 60 from the U.S.

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