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Germany expels two Russian diplomats over suspicions of Kremlin involvement in murder in Berlin

Germany expels two Russian diplomats over suspicions of Kremlin involvement in murder in Berlin

Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats on Wednesday.

The expulsions came after a man was killed in central Berlin in August, and there are suspicions that the Kremlin may have been involved in the murder.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was shot dead from behind by a cyclist in Berlin in August. Mr Khangoshvili had fought against Russia in the Second Chechen War and had links with Georgian intelligence. The suspected killer was captured by police, carrying a Russian passport identifying him as Vadim Sokolov, however, it is now believed that the identity document is false.

Mr Krasikov applied for asylum in Germany in 2017, with the claim that his life was in danger. The Georgian had already survived an assassination attempt in Tbilisi in 2015, after which it is thought he fled to Ukraine. In 2014, he was subject to an Interpol international arrest warrant issued by Russia but the warrant was later withdrawn. 

Berlin's attorney general said on Wednesday that evidence points to Russian state involvement in the murder and German federal prosecutors have taken over investigations into the murder.

Russia's foreign ministry has called the expulsions an "unfriendly, ungrounded step". A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov has denounced suggestions of Russian government involvement in the murder as “absolutely baseless”.

Some have drawn comparisons to the Skripal poisoning in Sailsbury, UK in 2018, which led to a large number of expulsions of Russian diplomats.

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