The Federal Prosecutor of Germany has filed charges against a Russian national suspected of killing Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, an ethnic Chechen/Kist citizen of Georgia, who was shot dead in Berlin last August.
On June 18, Chief Prosecutor Peter Frank indicted Vadim Krasikov on charges of murdering Khangoshvili on “Russian central authorities’ orders.”
Khangoshvili (also known as Tornike Kavtarashvili), 40, was gunned down in broad daylight in the German capital on August 23. A Georgian of Chechen descent, he fled to Germany after surviving an assassination attempt in Tbilisi in 2015.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas threatened Russia with sanctions over this murder.
In December, following the killing, Germany expelled two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, blaming them for failure to cooperate with the inquiry. There are “real indications that the killing was either commissioned by state agencies of the Russian Federation or such agencies of the Autonomous Chechen Republic as part of the Russian Federation,” the Ministry stated. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied all allegations.
Foreign policy controversy
The text of the indictment mentions that the background of the proxy murder was linked with “victim’s opposition to the Russian central government, authorities of the Chechen and Ingush Republics [autonomous republics of the Russian Federation], and a pro-Russian government of Georgia.”
The apparent designation of the Georgian government as “pro-Russian” was picked on by the opposition and has caused a stir in Tbilisi.
Commenting on the issue, Hubert Knirsch, German Ambassador to Georgia, explained to Georgian reporters that the prosecutor’s office should have more clearly attributed the said characteristic to Khangoshvili’s perception.
The Embassy said in a social media statement (above) that “the German law enforcement agencies did not intend to characterize the Georgian government in any way.”
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