Russian Foreign Ministry has declared persona non grata two employees of the German Embassy in the Russian Federation, reports the press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, this step was in response to Germany’s actions against employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin.
"Based on the principle of reciprocity and article 9 of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations of 1961, the Russian side in retaliation decided to declare persona non grata two employees of the German Embassy in Russia. They have been ordered to leave the territory of our country within seven days. The German Ambassador was handed a note of the relevant content," reports the Ministry.
On August 23, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was a field commander during the second Chechen war, was killed in the center of Berlin.
The murder took place blatantly at noon in a public park, which is located within walking distance of the German Chancellor's office and the Reichstag Building. According to witnesses, the cyclist pulled up behind the man, who was going to Friday prayers and shot the victim twice (to the back and the head).
The murderer was detained. He was a Russian citizen, and he came to Berlin shortly before the crime. It is known that in 2008, Khangoshvili gathered about 200 volunteers from the Pankisi Gorge to participate in military operations for Georgia against Russia in the territory of South Ossetia but didn't participate in fights himself.
Two employees of the Russian Embassy in Germany were expelled and declared persona non grata because of the murder of a Georgian citizen in Berlin. According to investigators, the Russian authorities may be involved in the crime.
Putin called the expulsion of Russian diplomats "incorrect," saying that "unwritten laws" require retaliatory measures. "You have expelled our diplomats. We are expelling yours. That's all," said Putin, noting that he "does not think" that any crisis should arise in Russian-German relations because of this event.
The German government has denied the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow appealed to Germany with a request for the extradition of former Chechen warlord Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was killed in Berlin last summer.