Russia’s foreign ministry has slammed Germany for its “unjustified” and “unfriendly” move to expel two of its diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Berlin, in what’s fast becoming a major international row between the two countries. A Russian government spokesman also said it smacked of “Russophobic hysteria”.
Germany says Russia has been uncooperative in the ongoing investigation of the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old former Chechen rebel commander found to have have been shot in the head from behind at a central Berlin park in August. German officials and media said it had all the hallmarks of a covert Russian hit job, alleging the Chechen Islamist who had been wanted by Russian authorities was victim of a brazen state-sponsored ‘assassination’ in a public space, similar to the Skripal case.
Germany expelled the Russian diplomats as a punitive action over the case. On Wednesday the Russian Foreign Ministry promised to respond in kind: “We are forced to implement an array of retaliatory measures,” a statement read.
And Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergey Nechaev vowed the dramatic moved will inevitably “result in a most negative effect on the Russian-German relationship.”
“There is and there has never been any evidence that Russian governmental structures have anything to do with this incident,” he said, according to Russian media. German investigators also believe officials in the Autonomous Chechen Republic — a federal zone subject of Russia — could be behind the killing.
However, Germany’s federal prosecutor on Wednesday said the targeted killing had Russian state and intelligence fingerprints all over it. “There are sufficient