Foreign

Suspect in Berlin killing had links to Russian state security

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The suspect, identified only as Vadim S., 49, had arrived in Berlin from Paris a few days before the killing, German prosecutors said.

Officers said he was carrying large amounts of cash, a Russian passport, and a ticket to Moscow.

He was being investigated over potential links to Russian security services, according to statements made by prosecutors.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who had previously fought alongside anti-Moscow separatists in the province of Chechnya, was shot twice in the head last Friday as he headed through a central Berlin park to the mosque.

Khangoshvili was instrumental in negotiating a peaceful solution to an armed standoff and hostage situation between Georgian government troops and Chechen militants in 2012 in a remote mountainous region along the border with Russia.

Spiegel said an investigation conducted jointly with the investigation networks, Bellingcat and The Insider, had found that nobody with the name of the alleged assassin was to be found in the Russian national passport register.

It added that his passport number was associated with an interior ministry unit that had in the past issued identity documents for agents of the GRU military intelligence service.

German investigators strongly suspect Russian government involvement in the apparent brazen assassination of a former Chechen rebel turned asylum seeker in a central Berlin park last week.

 

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