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5 Dec, 2019 15:45

‘Expulsion of Russian diplomats over Berlin murder case suits trend of blaming Moscow for everything, whether it’s true or not’

‘Expulsion of Russian diplomats over Berlin murder case suits trend of blaming Moscow for everything, whether it’s true or not’

Germany seems to be joining the cohort of those playing the old-time blame-Russia game, having expelled two diplomats citing Moscow’s unwillingness to help probe a murder of a suspected terrorist on its soil.

On a sunny day in August, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili – formerly a Chechen militant suspected of terrorist activity in Russia and a Georgian national – set off for his last walk through the Kleiner Tiergarten park located in one of Berlin’s central boroughs. Not long after that, he was shot dead in broad daylight by an assassin who allegedly used a silenced pistol to do the job.

The high-profile murder case returned to the spotlight when Berlin made a bold move expelling two Russian diplomats.

The official rationale was that “we’ve not seen that Russia backs us in inquiring into the murder,” as Chancellor Angela Merkel mildly put it. Germany’s Foreign Office, on their part, echoed Merkel’s points but stated that “serious and immediate participation by the Russian authorities is still required.”

Also on rt.com ‘No evidence of govt involvement’ in Berlin incident, Russian Embassy says after diplomats expelled

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was surprised by Berlin’s accusations, telling the press he couldn’t comprehend what led Germany to believe Russia was involved in the killing.

We have communications channels set up for our law enforcement agencies ... these should be used. If our German partners claim that Russia doesn’t cooperate enough, I don’t know what that assessment is based upon.

The Prosecutor General’s Office that took over the probe claimed of having “sufficient factual evidence that the killing may have been ordered by state authorities of the Russian Federation or the autonomous Republic of Chechnya which is a part of Russia.” They have not revealed any details.

Berlin was “absolutely reluctant” to deteriorate its relationships with Russia which “are not in as good shape as they ought to be,” according to political analyst Dr. Werner Patzelt. Thus, he believes expelling the diplomats “was something like a final resort” to make Moscow co-operate.

But the fact that no evidence was presented made some German politicians very uneasy.

“That the federal government singles out two Russian diplomats, although the investigation is still going on, is difficult to understand without having clear information,” said Alexander Lambsdorff, vice-president of the Free Democrats’ (FDP) parliamentary group.

READ MORE: 5 yrs since MH17 crash: Malaysia questions Dutch-led team’s findings as inconclusive probe drags on

The media immediately started making comparisons with the Skripal poisoning saga over the Russian connection. There’s one similarity with the British case – there was no evidence presented to the public, but the blaming started immediately.

Also on rt.com Inventing ‘2nd Skripal case’? Moscow rejects any link to asylum-seeker assassination in Germany

For years, there has been a “tendency to blame Russia for this and that, beginning with the putsch in Kiev, and the MH17 crash in Ukraine, the Skripal case and now this,” Willy Wimmer, former Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, told RT.

Western Europeans are concerned “that everything is used to blame Russia whether it’s true or not,” he argued. The German authorities who expelled the Russian diplomats, “have to say more,” Wimmer urged, adding, “they have to explain why they did it and if there is really enough evidence to create problems for our diplomatic relations.”

Germany has been under pressure the US and some other Western allies over its business relations with Russia, in particular the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline that Washington pledged to sanction.

Also on rt.com US concerns over Nord Stream 2 are about fear of losing leverage, not welfare of Europe

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