Berlin launches diplomatic attack on Moscow
German Foreign Ministry has declared as personae non gratae two staffers of the Russian embassy in Germany in connection with the killing of a Georgian citizen in Berlin at the end of last summer.
The decision is "effective immediately," as follows from the Foreign Ministry’s statement published today.
"In this way the German government reacted to the fact that the Russian authorities, in defiance of repeated and insistent demands at a high level, insufficiently cooperated in the investigation of the killing in Berlin’s Tiergarten, committed on August 23," the document runs.
"These expectations had been formulated by State Secretary Michaelis in a conversation with Ambassador Nechyayev at the German Foreign Ministry on November 20," TASS cited the statement as saying.
A 40-year-old Georgian citizen was shot dead in a Berlin park on 23 August. The following day, German police said they had detained a 49-year-old Russian citizen who attempted to dispose of a gun believed to be the murder weapon.
Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed the suspicions that Russia could have something to do with the murder of a Georgian citizen in Berlin as "totally groundless."
Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that one can expect that Russia will give a mirror response and also declare two German diplomats persona non grata. "It is not clear how they can declare our diplomats as involved in this murder, if the investigation has not yet ended, there are no documents, but if they have already done it, then Russia's response will be symmetric," he said.
"I think that this is not a serious precedent for the deterioration of Russian-German relations, this case will not be extrapolated to the entire bilateral policy of our countries. This is rather a special case. It would be appropriate, by the way, to involve Russian specialists in the investigation. It's been only two days, but the decision to expel Russian diplomats has already been made, without explaining the reasons. Of course, this step does not make the Germans better, as well as other countries that have recently expelled our diplomats. But this is how the world works, so it remains only for Russia to give an adequate response," Alexander Gusev concluded.
Director of Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Kuznetsov agreed with Gusev. "Since we have already reacted to this step, calling the expulsion of diplomats a far-fetched pretext, we should expect Russia to give a mirror response. The fact that Berlin decided to start expelling Russian diplomats may be due to chilly relations between Germany and Russia. We no longer have the confidential dialogue, we had a few years ago. In addition, Berlin could have done this because of some contacts with third countries, in particular with Georgia," he said.