Khangoshvili Murder Ruling: Berlin Expels 2 Russian Diplomats

Reacting to German court’s ruling over Russia-linked 2019 murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said today “this murder ordered by the state – as determined by the Court today – represents a serious violation of German law and of the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Minister Baerbock stated that the German Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador for talks, during which he was informed that Berlin declares two members of the Russian diplomatic staff personae non gratae.

“The man convicted today literally executed another man there in broad daylight with several shots. In his indictment, the Federal Public Prosecutor General came to the conclusion that this crime was committed on behalf of government agencies of the Russian Federation. This view was endorsed by the court in today’s ruling,” the top German diplomat noted.

Minister Baerbock said she spoke yesterday to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: “[I] reiterated that we want and need an open and honest exchange with Russia. This is in our mutual interest.”

“It is very clear that acts like the murder in the Tiergarten weigh heavily on this exchange,” the German Foreign Minister maintained, noting that the German Federal Government “will do everything it takes to guarantee security in our country as well as respect for our legal system.”

Moscow denies that 56-year-old Vadim Krasikov, sentenced to life imprisonment today over killing ethnic Chechen of Georgian nationality Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, acted at the behest of Russian authorities.

Reacting to Ms. Baerbock’s statement, Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said “unladylike actions of Berlin will not be left without an adequate response.”

Earlier today, Russian news agency Interfax cited Moscow’s Berlin envoy Sergei Nechaev as saying that the ruling was a “biased, politically motivated decision that seriously aggravates the already difficult Russian-German relations.” The diplomat added the verdict – “an obvious unfriendly act” – will not be left without a response from Moscow.

The Georgian authorities have so far not broken 28-months-long silence over the murder.

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