MOSCOW, December 16. / TASS /. Moscow strongly rejects the unfounded accusations by the German authorities of the involvement of Russian state structures in the murder of Georgian national Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, the Foreign Ministry stated on Thursday.
"We strongly reject the unfounded and completely divorced from reality accusations of the involvement of Russian state structures in the murder of terrorist [Zelimkhan] Khangoshvili, who lived in Germany with the acquiescence of the German authorities, as [they] were cooked up by the foreign special services and other structures affiliated with them," the statement reads.
"We are deeply saddened by the German government’s decision to carry out another unfriendly act against Russia under the pretext of this court verdict, [in particular,] declaring two Russian envoys to Germany persona non grata. They had nothing to do with the Khangoshvili case and never could, and the German authorities are well aware of it. Berlin should have no doubt that the Russian side will take retaliatory steps amid the current situation," the foreign ministry noted.
Moscow is strongly convinced that the German court’s guilty verdict against Russian national Vadim Sokolov "was extremely biased and obviously politically motivated." "We insist on the innocence of our citizen, who retains the right to appeal this unjust decision in German’s Federal Court of Justice," the foreign ministry went on to say.
The Russian diplomatic service also pointed to the falsification of the facts under the only version, "which was put forward in August 2019 on a fresh note to the German state media." "They used the testimonies obtained under duress and some pseudo-evidence collected at the same time, according to their own ‘suppliers’, with the help of illegal and even manifestly illicit methods," the statement reads.
Earlier, a Berlin court sentenced a Russian citizen to life imprisonment for killing Georgian national Zelimkhan Khangoshvili two and a half years ago. The court upheld the arguments of the prosecutor’s office relating to the alleged involvement of Russia’s state structures in the murder. Following the court’s decision, Foreign Minister of Germany Annalena Baerbock said that Berlin viewed this murder as "a violation of law and sovereignty" and expelled two Russian diplomats.