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Monday, January 24, 2022

Russia expels 2 German diplomats in quid pro quo move

Participants in the process are pictured in the courtroom, where a Russian defendant, Vadim Kasykov, was facing trial for shooting 40-year-old Georgian national Zelimkhan “Tornik” Kvatarashvili in Berlin on December 15, 2021. (Christophe Gato). /pools/AFP via Getty Images)

MOSCOW: Russia ordered two German diplomats to leave on Monday in response to the expulsion of two Russian envoys following a German court ruling that convicted Moscow for the murder of a Chechen man in Berlin two years ago.

Moscow angrily rejected the Berlin court’s decision and the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the German ambassador on Monday to inform it of the diplomats’ expulsion, saying it was a “symmetrical response to an unfriendly decision by the German government.” “

The ministry warned that Russia would continue to respond to any “potential confrontational moves by Berlin”.

Judges of Berlin’s regional court on Wednesday convicted 56-year-old Vadim Krassikov of murdering Zelimkhan “Tornik” Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity. They ruled that Kasyakov had acted on orders from Russian federal officials, who had provided him with a false identity, a fake passport, and the resources to commit the murder.

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Bright daylight near Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten Park on August 23, 2019 sparked outrage in Berlin and prompted the German government to expel two other Russian diplomats at the time – a move Russia swiftly retaliated.

Following the court’s decision, Germany expelled two more Russian diplomats, with Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock calling the state-ordered killing “a serious violation of German law and the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany”.

The German foreign ministry described the Russian move as “completely baseless” and said the expulsion of Russian diplomats last week was an “appropriate response” to the court’s decision.

“The German government strives for exchanges with the Russian Federation on the basis of international law and mutual respect,” adding that the Russian move “puts additional pressure on this relationship.”

The Associated Press

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