1. Germany Expels Russian Diplomats Over Chechen Murder last minute news
Germany is expelling two Russian diplomats over Moscow's alleged role in the murder of a Chechen asylum-seeker in Berlin, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.
In a verbal protest note given to Russian Ambassador Sergei J. Netschajew after he was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday morning, Russia is strongly urged to cooperate with German authorities on the case.
Both accredited diplomats at the Russian Embassy were reportedly intelligence officers and were declared persona non grata with immediate effect and ordered to leave Germany within seven days.
The ministry cited Russia's lack of cooperation in the investigation into the murder for its sharp diplomatic reaction.
The German attorney general in the city of Karlsruhe has taken over the investigation into the August murder in Kleine Tiergarten, Berlin.
There is "sufficient factual evidence" that in August the Georgian national was shot dead "on behalf of state agencies of the Russian Federation," the attorney general said.
From the outset, the "execution-style" killing of 40-year-old Zelimkhan Khangoshvili drew suspicion of Russian involvement.
The suspected perpetrator, a 49-year-old Russian national, is believed to have carried out a drive-by shooting by bicycle in broad daylight.
Authorities caught him shortly thereafter and later found the discarded bicycle, a wig and the weapon used in the murder.
Manana Tsatieva, Khangoshvili's ex-wife, told German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle that she believes her late husband's history likely motivated the attack.
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.
Tsatieva said Khangoshvili escaped to Germany in 2016 after multiple attempts against his life in Georgia, but was denied asylum here. He was scheduled for deportation.
Russia denies involvement in Khangoshvili murder
Asked about Russia's involvement in the Khangoshvili murder, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the allegations "groundless".
"There are no serious suspicions, and cannot be. What is the attitude to the Russian authorities? These are absolutely groundless assumptions. I have nothing to add. The investigation is underway in Germany. We don't have any information," Peskov said.
Russia's state-run news agency TASS also published a comment on behalf of the country's Foreign Ministry, saying Germany's move will not go unanswered.
"We consider the statements of the German side on the expulsion of two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin as groundless and unfriendly. A politicized approach to the investigation is unacceptable. We are forced to implement a set of response measures," it said. -
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