German Prosecutors Suspect Russia Connection to Georgian Killing in Berlin

Elias Hubbard
December 4, 2019

Some German politicians and media have already blamed Moscow for the assassination of 40-year-old Georgian national Zelimkhan Khangoshvili - though Russian Federation denies the claims.

Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian who fought against Russian Federation in Chechnya and had links with Georgian intelligence, was shot dead from behind by a cyclist in broad daylight in Berlin's Kleiner Tiergarten park in August.

According to Bellingcat, the real identity of the man in custody is Vadim Krasikov, born in August 1965 in Soviet Kazakhstan, and not in 1970. But in a statement on December 3, Bellingcat claimed that the suspect who had traveled to Berlin under the Sokolov alias is in reality 54-year-old Vadim Krasikov.

"The murder in Moscow was similar in many respects to the Berlin assassination - the killer had approached his target on a bicycle, had shot at him with a hand gun at close range, both in the back and in the head, and had left on his bike".

Russian Federation put Krasikov on an Interpol wanted list but later withdrew his name and "facilitated the issuance of a new, false identity for him", Bellingcat said.

"We have evidence that a foreign intelligence agency was behind it and therefore the case is going to be taken over by the federal prosecutor this week", the Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed security source as saying.

A spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office told AFP they were not now in charge of the case and a foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment.

German media have drawn parallels between Khangoshvili's assassination and the 2018 poisoning in England of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. This could not have happened without direct involvement of the Russian state, it alleges.

Their investigation also suggested the government of the Russian republic of Chechnya, led by Vladimir Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov, might have been involved.

Russian Federation fought major campaigns in 1994-96 and 1999-2000 against separatists in Chechnya, situated in the Caucasus Mountains on Russia's border with Georgia.

A Georgian national, Khangoshvili had fought in the second Chechen war against Russian forces in the North Caucasus in 2001-2005. Reports at the time of the Berlin murder in August said the suspect had travelled from Moscow via Paris before the attack and had a return ticket to Moscow.

The joint media investigation said that he had a valid passport but no such person existed in Russia's national citizen database.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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