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Germany expels Russian diplomats after court declares 2019 killing 'state terrorism'

Germany expels Russian diplomats after court declares 2019 killing 'state terrorism'
German Foreign Minister Annalene Baerbock announced Wednesday that two Russian diplomats had been expelled after a court found a Russian citizen guilty of killing a man in Berlin in an "act of state terrorism." File Pool Photo by Andreas Gora/EPA-EFE

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Germany on Wednesday expelled two Russian diplomats and summoned the Russian ambassador after a court ruled that a man had carried out the killing of a Georgian citizen in Berlin on behalf of Moscow.

A German court found Russian national Vadim Krasikov guilty of the August 2019 murder of Tornike Khangoshvili, an ethnic Chechen from Georgia at a park in central Berlin. The court said the Russian government ordered the slaying.

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The court described the killing as an act of "state terrorism" and sentenced Krasikov to life in prison.

After the verdict, German Foreign Minister Annalene Baerbock announced that Russian ambassador to Germany Sergej Netschajew was summoned "for a talk" and was notified that "two members of the diplomatic personnel will be declared persona non grata."

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"This murder, ordered by a state as the court found today, constitutes a severe breach of German law and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany," Baerbock said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned Germany's decision to summon the ambassador and expel the two diplomats.

"Berlin's unfriendly actions will not remain without an adequate response," she said.

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Krasikov was arrested on Aug. 23, 2019, after Kangoshvili was shot dead at close range in broad daylight.

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The court found that Krasikov "had received an order from a state agency within the government of the Russian Federation" to kill Kangoshvili "because of his negative attitude toward the Russian central state and his role in the Second Chechen War."

Netschajew said the court's decision "causes us great concern," describing the verdict as "an obviously unkind act that will not go unanswered."

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"The absurd allegation that the Russian Federation was involved in the crime was continuously imposed on the public throughout the course of the trial and woven into the general anti-Russian context, but without ever having been substantiated with viable evidence," Netschajew said.

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