Slovakia expels three Russian diplomats over link to murder of Georgian man in Berlin

Slovakia will expel three Russian embassy staff from Bratislava after local media reported a relation to the murder of a Georgian man in Berlin last year.

Slovakia cited abuse of Slovak visas as reason for the expulsions.

Local media, as well as investigative website, have reported that one of those suspected of planning the murder had travelled to the EU on a Slovak visa.

All three must leave the country by 13 August.

Germany has accused Russia of ordering the murder of the former Chechen rebel Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.

The 40-year-old was shot dead in broad daylight last August in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten park.

A Russian national identified as Vadim K has been charged with the murder.

Germany’s federal prosecutor said Vadim K took the “government order to kill” in the hope of financial reward or because he shared the desire to “kill a political opponent”.

Prosecutors say in August 2019 Vadim K flew from Moscow to Paris and from there to Warsaw, before arriving in Berlin, using a passport under the name Vadim S issued by Russian authorities just a month previously.

On 23 August he allegedly came up behind Khangoshvili on a bicycle and fired a shot into his torso using a silenced Glock 26 pistol. Prosecutors say he then fired two more shots into the victim’s head as he lay on the ground, killing him.

Vadim K was arrested shortly afterwards and has been in pre-trial detention since.

In December, Germany expelled two Russian diplomats due to suspicions the Kremlin was involved in the murder. Russia responded by expelling two German diplomats.

Russia had called the accusations “absolutely groundless” and said it had nothing to do with the death.