BERLIN, Germany — Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats following a court ruling that Moscow had ordered the 2019 murder of a Georgian citizen in Berlin.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made the announcement of the expulsions.
The German court found that Russian citizen Vadim Krasikov had murdered Tornike Khangoshvili, an ethnic Chechen of Georgian nationality, in a central Berlin park in 2019. Krasikov was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The court also ruled that Krasikov had been ordered by the Russian government to commit the murder.
"This murder, ordered by a state as the court found today, constitutes a severe breach of German law and the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany. Therefore, we have just summoned the Russian ambassador for a talk," Baerbock said in a statement.
"The Russian ambassador was notified that two members of the diplomatic personnel will be declared persona non grata," she added.
In response to the expulsions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said,
"Berlin’s unfriendly actions will not remain without an adequate response. A statement on this matter will be made in the near future," she wrote on her Telegram channel.
The judge had earlier emphasized the connection of the Russian state with Khangoshvili’s murder.
"In June 2019 at the latest, state organs of the central government of the Russian Federation took the decision to liquidate Tornike Khangoshvili in Berlin," the judge said.
"Four children lost their father, two siblings their brother," the judge said.
Police reported that Khangoshvili was shot and killed in close range at mid-day on August 23, 2019. Police arrested Krasikov the same day.