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20 Dec, 2021 15:00

Russia shows German diplomats the door

Russia shows German diplomats the door

Russia has declared two German diplomats persona non grata. Monday’s move is intended as a response to a similar decision taken by Germany last week, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow explained.

It comes just days after Berlin showed two Russian envoys the door after a German court sentenced a Russian national to life in prison over the murder of a Chechen separatist, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, in 2019. Khangoshvili had been wanted in Russia on multiple charges. Three years prior, he had moved to Germany and applied for asylum there.

Germany’s foreign ministry reacted to the expulsion with a statement describing the step as “not surprising, and yet completely unfounded from the perspective of the German government.” However, Berlin insisted its own decision to boot out two Russian representatives was an “appropriate reaction” to a “major violation of Germany’s sovereignty.” The statement concluded by saying that Moscow’s decision would further “strain relations.”

After Khangoshvili was fatally shot in Berlin’s Tiergarten park, German authorities were quick to point the finger at Moscow. Russia has denied any involvement in the murder. Russian Ambassador Sergey Nechaev denounced the German court’s verdict as “politically motivated” and “biased.”

A statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Monday dismissed the court’s claims of Moscow’s involvement in the crime as “baseless and divorced from reality.”