Germany accuses Russian government of a contract killing in Berlin

The Office of the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwaltschaft, GBA) has accused the Russian government of the contact killing of former Chechen military commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, Deutsche Welle reported.

According to the investigation, the accused Vadim K. (a.k.a. Vadim S.). was ordered by the agencies subordinate to the Kremlin to "eliminate" Khangoshvili.

"The victim's hostile relationship with the Russian state, with the governments of the autonomous republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia, as well as with the pro-Russian government of Georgia, lead to the contract killing," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Former military commander of the second Chechen war, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was shot dead on August 23, 2019, in Berlin's Tiergarten Park. Russian authorities had earlier put him on the wanted list, accusing him of terrorism. Khangoshvili left for Germany after another attack on him in Georgia in 2015. The alleged killer, a Russian national, was detained in Berlin on the same day.

The case was originally handled by the Berlin Prosecutor's office, but the Office of the German Federal Public Prosecutor launched its own investigation in December. This happens only when the special services of another state are involved in the crime.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas did not rule out the possibility of imposing new sanctions against Russia in connection with the murder of Khangoshvili. "The federal government clearly reserves the right to take further action in this case," he said.

Russian Ambassador to Berlin Sergey Nechaev called the statements of the German authorities unsubstantiated. Earlier, Nechaev was summoned to the German Foreign Ministry to be informed about the charges.

"The indictment states that the murder was committed on behalf of Russian state agencies. This, however, is not supported by any facts or evidence... We consider the accusations against the Russian state structures groundless and unsubstantiated," Nechaev said.

  Khangoshvili, German, Russia