German prosecutors accused Russia on Thursday of ordering the killing of a former Chechen leader in the capital, Berlin, last summer, and charged a Russian person with the crime that led to a severe deterioration in diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The prosecution said that investigators had gathered enough evidence to charge the murder of a Russian person known only as Vadim K, as well as being accused of possessing a weapon in violation of the law.
He added in a statement that the accused fulfilled the order issued by the Russian authorities, "either that he was hoping to obtain a financial reward, or he had the same motive of those who issued the order to kill a political opponent and to avenge this by his previous conflicts with Russia."
The story goes back to last August, when Georgian citizen Salim Khanjushvili was shot dead in a park in Berlin while he was on his way to a mosque, and the killer was riding a bike.
But Russia denies any connection to his killing, and President Vladimir Putin has previously said, "The man fought and committed bloodshed on Russian soil, and Berlin did not heed Moscow's demand for his extradition."
Summoning the ambassador
For his part, German Foreign Minister Haikou Maas welcomed the prosecution's statement, describing the killing as a "very serious" incident. He added that the Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to clarify its position, and that Moscow is aware that Berlin reserves the right to take further steps in the case.
Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after federal prosecutors announced that preliminary investigations indicated Moscow was behind the killing.
This incident was compared to the killing of double agent Sergey Skripal with nerve gas developed in the Soviet era, which led to the deterioration of relations between London and Moscow.