Russia expels two German diplomats over Berlin murder probe

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia expelled two German diplomats yesterday in retaliation for Germany ejecting two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin last week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it was making the move “due to the reciprocity principle” and ordered them to leave the country within the next seven days.

Germany expelled the Russian Embassy employees on December 4 after Russian authorities didn’t answer requests by Germany to help shed light on a brazen daylight slaying of a Georgian man in Berlin.

Russia expelling German diplomats in response “sends the wrong signal and is unjustified,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

German federal prosecutors took over the investigation after concluding that evidence suggested involvement either by the Russian government or Chechnya.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week alleged the slain man was “a bandit” and “a murderer” and said Russia repeatedly asked Germany to extradite him, but to no avail.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that the victim’s alleged “participation in incredibly bloody terrorist acts and mass murders” in Russia had been established by Russian law enforcement agencies.

The German Justice Ministry said on Wednesday it is not aware of any extradition requests for the victim from Russia.

File photo shows forensic experts of the police securing evidences at the site of a crime scene in a park of Berlin’s Moabit district, where a man of Georgian origin was shot dead. PHOTO: AFP