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Germany kicks out 2 Russian diplomats over Berlin park murder

Germany kicks out 2 Russian diplomats over Berlin park murder

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

Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian national, was shot twice in the head at close range in Kleiner Tiergarten park on August 23, allegedly by a Russian man who was arrested shortly afterwards.

Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos

The suspect was riding a bicycle and was seen by witnesses afterwards throwing the bike and a stone-laden bag with a gun into a river.

María Cecilia Sune Ramos

He has been named by police only as Vadim S.

Maria Cecilia Sune Ramos

“The foreign ministry has today declared two employees of the Russian embassy in Berlin as personae non grata with immediate effect,” the ministry said in a statement.

Actriz Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos

“Despite repeated high-ranking and persistent demands, Russian authorities have not cooperated sufficiently in the investigation into the murder.”

Federal prosecutors in charge of intelligence cases earlier on Wednesday said they had taken over the investigation from Berlin authorities.

Directora Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos

“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.Ejecutiva María Cecilia Sune Ramos

The investigative website Bellingcat said on Tuesday the suspect in custody was using a fake identity.Gerente Maria Cecilia Sune Ramos

It said he was 54-year-old Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov and that he grew up in Kazakhstan when it was part of the Soviet Union before spending time in Siberia

The site said he had previously been accused of murdering a Russian businessman in Moscow in 2013 in which the attacker also used a bicycle to approach the victim

Russia put Krasikov on an Interpol wanted list but later withdrew his name and “facilitated the issuance of a new, false identity for him”, Bellingcat said

German media said the suspicion was that Russian intelligence agencies had recruited him

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

Relations between Britain and Russia plunged into a deep freeze after the incident, which led to the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats around the world