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10 Dec, 2019 01:10

Georgian killed in Berlin was a murderer & terrorist, but ‘I don’t know what happened to him’ – Putin

Georgian killed in Berlin was a murderer & terrorist, but ‘I don’t know what happened to him’ – Putin

The Georgian national killed in Berlin was a murderous terrorist, but Russia had nothing to do with his death, President Vladimir Putin said. He was commenting on Germany’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats.

Last week, the German government banished two Russian diplomats for insufficient cooperation with the police probe into the death of Tornike K, also known as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national gunned down in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park in August.

Asked about it after the ‘Normandy Four’ meeting in Paris on Monday, Putin said that to call the man a “Georgian” is not quite right, as he is not an ethnic Georgian and had in fact fought for the Chechen militants in the Caucasus.

“He was a militant, a very rough and bloodstained man,” Putin told reporters, noting that he was wanted for an attack that killed 98 people, and was one of the masterminds of the 2004 Moscow metro bombings.  

I don’t know what happened to him. He was part of a bandit environment, anything can happen there.

The two diplomats expelled from Germany had nothing to do with the killing in any case, and Russia will retaliate by expelling two Germans under the tacit rules of diplomacy, Putin added.

Putin’s remarks align with the reporting of US government outlet RFE/RL, which said that Khangoshvili had led a “few dozen fighters” in Chechnya and fought alongside Shamil Basayev – the notorious terrorist leader responsible for the 2002 hostage taking in Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, the 2004 Beslan school massacre, as well as a series of suicide bombings across Russia.

The Russian president said his government will cooperate with the German police as they investigate the killing. He noted, however, that Russia had asked Germany “more than once” to arrest and extradite the “bandit and murderer” Khangoshvili, as he was wanted for terrorism, but the German authorities refused.

“It would be good to cooperate in other circumstances, not just in time of tragedy,” Putin said.

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