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Germany Declares Two Russian Diplomats Personae Non Grata Over Khangoshvili Murder Case

© Sputnik / Igor Zarembo / Go to the mediabankRussian Embassy in Germany
Russian Embassy in Germany - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2021
The development came after the German High Court decided to sentence a Russian citizen to life imprisonment for the killing of a Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili. The German court claims that Russia ordered the assassination of Khangoshvili. Moscow strongly denies this claim.
The German Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador and declared two Russian diplomats personae non gratae and insisted that they leave the country in connection with the sentencing of Russian citizen Vadim Sokolov. The man was found guilty of killing a Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, but Germany believes he acted on orders from the Russian government.
"This murder on state orders, as was established by the court today, constitutes a grave violation of German law and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany. We therefore summoned the Russian ambassador for a conversation", Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.
Baerbock added that Germany wants to build relations with Russia based on mutual respect and respect for international laws. The murder of the Georgian citizen by the alleged Russian assassin undermines efforts to achieve this, she added.
The Russian Embassy in Berlin has expressed a "strong protest" against Germany's decision to expel two diplomats.
The German foreign minister's statements come after the German High Court found Vadim Sokolov guilty of killing Khangoshvili two-and-a-half years ago in the Berlin park Kleiner Tiergarten. The court said that Sokolov's real name was Vadim Krasikov and that he allegedly worked for the Russian special services.
Zelimkhan Khangoshvili is pictured against the backdrop of the flag of the unrecognised Chechen Republic of Ichkeria during the Chechen conflict. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.10.2020
Khangoshvili, Killed in Berlin, Was Wanted by Russia for Role in Terrorist Attacks
According to the court's ruling, he killed Khangoshvili on the orders of the Russian government. Moscow strongly denies the notion that it ordered a hit on the Georgian citizen and pointed out the lack of evidence in the case.
Russia's ambassador in Berlin called the case "politically motivated" and that the ruling is an obvious "hostile act, which will not go unanswered".
Khangoshvili was a commander of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria - a militant group in Russia's south, which fought against the country's government in the Second Chechen War, and committed numerous war crimes, kidnappings and robberies in the process. Khangoshvili himself managed to flee Russia after the war and was considered a terrorist by its Federal Security Service (FSB).
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