Russia expels two German diplomats, decries allegations of state involvement in Khangoshvili murder
The Russian Foreign Ministry has declared two German diplomats persona non grata in a “symmetrical response” to Berlin’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats last week, according to a ministry statement released on Monday, December 20.
Germany expelled two Russian Embassy employees on December 15, after a German court convicted Russian national Vadim Krasikov, an alleged FSB officer, of murdering former Chechen field commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin’s Tiergarten park in August 2019.
The German authorities believe Krasikov is a high-ranking officer in a special FSB unit, and that he assassinated Khangoshvili on orders from a Russian state agency. Krasikov was sentenced to life in prison. Following the verdict, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock condemned the assassination as a severe violation of German law and Germany’s sovereignty.
In the statement released on Monday, the Foreign Ministry reminded that Moscow “categorically rejects” the allegations of Russian state involvement in the crime, describing the accusations as “unfounded” and “divorced from reality.” The ministry also said that it had registered a “strong protest” with Germany’s ambassador to Russia over the expulsion of the Russian diplomats.