Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 4, 2019

Newsline: Germany Expels Two Russians From Embassy In Berlin

Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats and its federal prosecutors have taken over the case of the slaying of an ethnic Chechen Georgian national in Berlin amid allegations of Russian involvement. The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement on December 4 that two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin were deemed “to be persona non grata in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” (https://www.rferl.org/a/germany-expels-two-russians-from-embassy-in-berlin-moscow-threatens-retaliation/30307299.html) Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, who had previously fought alongside separatists in Russia’s Chechnya region, was shot twice in the head in Kleiner Tiergarten park on August 23. A Russian national suspected of carrying out the killing was arrested shortly afterward. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to the news, saying the expulsions were “baseless and unfriendly,” adding that Moscow will “have to undertake a set of response measures.” German and international media outlets reported earlier this week that prosecutors were taking over the case after gathering evidence that “a foreign intelligence agency” was behind the killing. The August 30 investigation did not establish the suspect’s real identity. 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. “In June 2013, Krasikov was the key suspect in the murder of a Russian businessman [in Moscow] who had been the subject of several previous assassination attempts,” Bellingcat said. “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 handgun at close range, both in the back and in the head, and had left on his bike,” Bellingcat said. Krasikov grew up in Kazakhstan before spending time in Siberia, Bellingcat claimed.

Newsline: China Summons U.S. Embassy Official Over Uighur Bill

China summoned a representative of the U.S. embassy on Wednesday to protest against a U.S. House of Representatives bill about Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, state television reported. Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang made “stern representations” to William Klein, the U.S. embassy’s minister counselor for political affairs, and urged the United States to stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs, according to the report. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-12-04/china-summons-us-embassy-official-over-uighur-bill) The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would require the Trump administration to toughen its response to China’s crackdown on the Muslim minority, angering Beijing and further straining an already testy relationship.