Russia expelled two German diplomats on Monday in response to Germany’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats last week.
The dispute between the two nations started when a German court said last week that Russia had ordered the assassination of a former Chechen militant Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili in Berlin in 2019.
A German court convicted Russian Vadim Krasikov of murder and sentenced him to life in prison, calling the slaying a “grave breach of German law and the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany.”
After the conviction, Russia called the notion of Russian involvement “absurd.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the German ambassador to announce the expulsions.
Russian officials said the move was reciprocal, the German Foreign Ministry said.
“This move comes as no surprise, but it is completely unwarranted from the federal government’s perspective,” it said in a statement. “Today’s decision by Russia’s foreign ministry puts renewed strain on the relationship.”
“It was noted that the Russian side categorically rejects unfounded and detached-from-reality accusations that Russian public structures are accessory to this crime,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Some information in this report comes from Reuters and The Associated Press.