Russia is expelling two German diplomats, in a tit-for-tat move after Berlin ejected two Russians over the investigation into the murder of a Georgian man in a Berlin park.
“As a retaliatory measure, the Russian side has decided to declare two employees of the German embassy in Russia ‘persona non grata’,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, giving them seven days to leave the country.
The development comes after Germany said Moscow was not cooperating sufficiently in the investigation into the Georgian man murdered in Berlin in August.
Russia’s move marks an escalation in already heightened tensions between Russia and Germany and other Western countries following the poisoning last year of a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter on British soil.
Prosecutors suspect Russian or Chechen involvement in the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was shot twice in the head in a central Berlin park in August as he was heading to a mosque.
The victim had previously fought alongside anti-Moscow separatists in Russia’s autonomous region of Chechnya.
Prosecutors said there were sufficient leads to indicate that the killing was ordered either by the Russian state or by Chechen authorities.
The Kremlin has previously denied any Russian government involvement in the murder.