Germany expels two Russian diplomats over murder of Georgian man of Chechen origin in Berlin

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili applied for asylum in Germany in 2017, saying his life was in danger. Photo: Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA., 04 Dec 2019 - 17:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

 Germany has expelled two Russian citizens working in the Russian embassy in Berlin for their alleged involvement in the murder of Georgian citizen of Chechen origin Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin in the summer, pointing at possible involvement of either Russian of Chechen authorities in the case.

Khangoshvili, 40, who was shot dead in the Kleiner Tiergarten Park, Berlin, on August 23, was a field commander during the second Chechen War (1999-2009), which is why he was wanted and continuously persecuted by Russia.

The Guardian reads that German federal prosecutors “concluded that evidence suggests involvement either by the government of Russia or the Chechen republic,” in the murder.

The media outlet says that Russia refused to cooperate with German law enforcement to solve the case.

RTE says that the killing has been compared with the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Britain last year with a nerve agent, widely blamed on Russian intelligence.

Foreign media reads that Russia has taken the German decision on Khangoshvili's case as "unfriendly and unfounded." Photo: REX. 

The Telegraph reads that a suspected killer was captured by police attempting to dispose of a gun believed to be the murder weapon in the nearby river Spree.

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,” the Telegraph says, adding that police findings indicate that it is “highly likely” the arrested man is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian national previously wanted for the murder of a businessman in Moscow in 2013.

Khangoshvili spent several years living in Georgia under the name of Tornike Kavtarashvili.

He was also involved in the notorious Lapankuri special operation in the Lopota gorge, near the Georgia-Russia border in August 2012.

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

He requested asylum in Germany in 2017 and spent the past few years in Berlin.