Moscow pledges ‘retaliatory measures’ after Germany kicks out diplomats

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. Putin is set to meet Merkel for Ukraine summit talks in Paris on December 9. — Reuters pic
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. Putin is set to meet Merkel for Ukraine summit talks in Paris on December 9. — Reuters pic

MOSCOW, Dec 4 — Russia today pledged “retaliatory measures” after Germany expelled two Russian diplomats and its prosecutors said Moscow could be behind the killing of a former Chechen commander in Berlin.

“We are forced to carry out a series of retaliatory measures,” a representative of the Russian foreign ministry told AFP, declining to be identified.

Earlier today Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said Moscow could be behind the killing of a Chechen rebel commander.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian national, was shot twice in the head at close range in Kleiner Tiergarten park in August, allegedly by a Russian man who was arrested shortly afterwards.

The suspect was riding a bicycle and was seen by witnesses afterwards throwing the bike and a stone-laden bag with a gun into a river.

The Russian foreign ministry representative said Germany’s statements were “groundless and hostile.”

“A politicised approach to investigation issues is unacceptable,” said the Moscow-based representative.

Speaking earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had nothing to do with the affair.

Putin is set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for Ukraine summit talks in Paris on December 9.

Peskov said he was sure the German investigation would not cast a shadow over the Paris meeting. — AFP

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