Germany expels two Russians over killing of Georgian in Berlin

Policemen stand in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin

Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said Moscow could be behind the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in a Berlin park.

The expulsions come shortly after Germany's chief prosecutor made a decision to take over the case.

A man was quickly arrested but has given little information to police. He was also known by a second identity "Tornike K." which was the one used by German prosecutors.

In a statement, prosecutors said there is "sufficient evidence" to indicate that the man's murder was carried out on the behalf of the Russian state or by Chechnya.

The suspect was detained shortly after the killing when he was allegedly seen dumping a bike, pistol and a wig into the nearby River Spree. Prosecutors said he also went by the alias Vadim S., and German and worldwide news outlets have reported he had links to organized crime in Russian Federation.

Vadim S appeared for the first time in a Russian domestic passport in 2015.

He has been named by police only as Vadim S.

"Russian authorities, despite repeated, high-level and insistent demands, did not participate enough in the investigation", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The investigative website Bellingcat said yesterday the suspect in custody was using a fake identity.

Russian Federation issued an Interpol global arrest warrant for Mr Krasikov in 2014, but withdrew it a year later without explanation.

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.

The victim, Khangoshvili, was a Georgian national, who had fought against Russian Federation in the second Chechen war in 2001-2005, and had fled to Germany after surviving two attempts on his life in Georgia in 2009 and 2015.

He was a close ally of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, who masterminded Chechen guerrilla resistance to Russia and was killed in a Russian special forces raid. He had previously survived multiple assassination attempts and continued to receive threats after fleeing to Germany. He applied for asylum in Germany but was not granted it.



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