In Brief

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili: Germany accuses Russia of ordering the Chechen rebel’s killing

Berlin warns of potential sanctions over the assassination in German capital

German prosecutors have blamed “government agencies of the central government of the Russian Federation” for the murder of a man killed in a Berlin park last summer.

Georgian national Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen rebel commander, was shot in the head from behind by an assassin on a bike in the German capital’s Kleiner Tiergarten in August.

After a months-long investigation, a Russian man identified only as Vadim K was charged yesterday with murder and illegal possession of a weapon, Deutsche Welle (DW) reports.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that the Kremlin may face sanctions over the daylight killing. Berlin “expressly reserves the right to take further action in this case”, Maas said.

According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, “the motivation behind the assassination order was the victim’s opposition to the Russian central state”. 

Prosecutors added that the killer “hoped for a financial reward or he shared the motive of his clients to kill a political opponent in retaliation for his involvement in previous conflicts with Russia”.

The allegations have been denied by Russia’s ambassador in Berlin, Sergei Nechayev, who said the claims were “not supported by any facts or evidence”, the BBC reports.

Moscow considers “allegations issued against Russian state structures as groundless and unfounded”, he added in a post on the embassy’s Facebook page

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Although the Kremlin has repeatedly denied any connection between the murder and the Russian state, Vladimir Putin has claimed that Chechen separatist Khangoshvili carried out killings “on Russian soil”, according to The Guardian.

In December, Putin described Khangoshvili as “a cruel and bloodthirsty person” and said Russian authorities had sought to have him extradited from Germany.

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