The diplomatic mission has lodged a “strong protest” in response to Wednesday’s decision by the German Foreign Ministry. Russian diplomats called the move “unwarranted,” and said the “obviously unfriendly step… will not be left without an appropriate response, to follow in the near future.” The situation comes as Berlin has seen a transition of power, with long-time leader Angela Merkel stepping down after 16 years in office.
READ MORE: Germany convicts Russian of murdering Chechen separatist in Berlin
Earlier on Wednesday, a German court sentenced a Russian citizen to life in prison. The man – identified as Vadim Krasikov, who had allegedly operated under a fake name – was found guilty of killing a Chechen separatist, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, in Berlin in 2019. According to the German prosecutors, Krasikov had been sent by the Russian security services – something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russian Ambassador Sergey Nechaev had been summoned over the case. He was informed that the diplomats had been expelled in response to what Germany called a “grave violation” of its sovereignty. Nechaev denounced the verdict as “politically motivated” and “biased.”
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