The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday declared two German diplomats persona non grata in retaliation for the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Berlin.
The ministry said it had summoned German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr and formally protested against the expulsion of Russian diplomats, using as a pretext the “absolutely unjust and one-sided condemnation” of Russian national Vadim Krasikov, who on 15 December, was sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 murder in Berlin of Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.
On December 15, a German court jailed Vadim Sokolov, who investigators say is Russian intelligence officer Vadim Krasikov, to life in prison.
Commenting on the verdict, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the investigation also revealed that the murder was committed “on the orders of state agencies of the Russian Federation“.
In protest, Germany expelled two Russian diplomats.
“The Russian side categorically rejects the unfounded and detached accusations of the reality of the involvement of Russian state structures in this crime,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Russian side “will invariably respond adequately and proportionately to any potential confrontational attack by Berlin on us in the future,” he added.
Khangoshvili, a Chechen ethnicity, fought against the Russian army in the Second Chechen War from 1999-2009 and worked in Georgia and Ukraine against Russian interests.