Germany kicks out diplomats over murder, Russian Federation denies involvement

Khangoshvili Man arrested for murder of Chechan dissident- 02 Sep 2019 Vadim Andreevich Sokolov 49 born in Irkutsk Siber

German authorities said Wednesday they suspect that Russian agents were behind an execution-style killing in Berlin in the summer, and the government expelled two Russian diplomats in connection with the case.

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

The victim, also known as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was shot twice in the head in a central Berlin park in August as he was heading to a mosque.

"We view statements from the German side about the expulsion of two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin as unfounded and unfriendly". Russian authorities later amended and then deleted the wanted notice. Prosecutors said he went by the alias Vadim S., and German and global news outlets have reported his full name as Vadim Sokolov, a man with links to organized crime in Russian Federation.

"The suspect in the Berlin murder was arrested the same day while trying to dispose of a gun into a canal, and he's refused to cooperate during questioning", NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Berlin.

The prosecutor says the suspect flew from Moscow to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris six days before the killing under the alias of Vadim S.

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

There are sufficient indications that the victim was killed either on the order of an agency of the Russian federation or the Chechen republic, the office of the German Federal Prosecutor said in a statement.

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Russia's foreign ministry responded angrily on Wednesday.

"I don't think there are serious suspicions (of involvement by the Russian authorities) and there can not be any". What relation to the Russian authorities [does this have]?,' said Peskov.

"This is absolutely groundless speculation".

Peskov said he was sure the German investigation would not cast a shadow over the Paris meeting.

The case is reminiscent of the attempt to poison Sergei Skripal, a Russian spy turned double agent for Britain, with the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in 2018. Bellingcat suggested that "Krasikov was also the key suspect in the murder a Russian businessman" in June 2013.

Between 2000 and 2004, he commanded a Chechen militia that fought Russia forces during the Russian-Chechen war, the German prosecutor's statement said.

In response to the expulsion orders, Russian Federation says it will retaliate in kind, with officials saying German diplomats may now be expelled from Russian Federation, as the Interfax news agency reports.

Speaking at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Britain, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday she would raise the issue with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at a planned meeting next week.

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