Germany expelled two Russian diplomats on Wednesday as it opened a formal investigation into suspicions the Kremlin was behind the killing of a man in central Berlin.
In the first diplomatic fall-out from what German government sources have described as a “second Skripal case”, Angela Merkel’s government summoned the Russian ambassador on Wednesday morning and ordered two of the embassy staff to leave the country within seven days.
The two diplomats concerned are believed to be Russian intelligence officers, according to local media reports.
The German foreign ministry said they had been declared persona non grata in protest at Russia’s failure to cooperate with investigations into the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national shot dead in a Berlin park in August.
The expulsions come as federal prosecutors responsible for issues of national security announced they were taking over the case on Wednesday.
“There is sufficient factual evidence that the killing was carried out on behalf of state agencies of Russia”, – federal prosecutors said in a statement.