Germany expelled two Russian diplomats on Dec. 15 after a Berlin court sentenced a Russian man to life in prison for the 2019 murder of a Chechen dissident on orders from the Russian government.
In a statement, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that she had summoned Russian Ambassador Sergei Nechayev to inform him that they expelled two staff members of the Russian Embassy following the decision of the Berlin Higher Regional Court.
“This murder ordered by the state — as determined by the Court today — represents a serious violation of German law and of the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany,” Baerbock stated.
Presiding Judge Olaf Arnoldi sentenced Vadim Krasikov — alias Vadim Sokolov — to life in prison for fatally shooting Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a Georgian of Chechen ethnicity who fought against Russia during the second Chechen war, in the Kleiner Tiergarten on August 23, 2019.
The court ruled that Russian security services provided Krasikov with a false identity, fake passport, and resources to carry out the murder.
Arnoldi described the killing as a “painstakingly planned” hit job and an act of “state terrorism.”
Nechayev dismissed the verdict as “absurd” and threatened to retaliate.
“We consider this judgment to be non-objective, politically motivated and seriously burdensome for the already difficult German-Russian relationship,” Nechayev said in a statement.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the expulsions “unfriendly” and also threatened to retaliate.
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