German federal prosecutors announced the involvement of Russian intelligence in the murder of a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin in August. The Georgian citizen participated in the war against Russian troops in the North Caucasus in 2001-2005.
According to DW, this will mean that the German investigative authorities officially suspect the Russian authorities of organizing the murder: The investigation of such crimes falls into the competence of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office only if the involvement of the special services of another state is suspected.
Until now, the German Foreign Ministry and the Office of the Federal Chancellor have indicated that there is no reliable information confirming Russia’s participation in the murder in Berlin.
The Kremlin categorically rejects allegations of involvement of the Russian state in the crime.
The alleged killer of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was detained on the same day due to testimony received. It turned out to be a man with a Russian passport in the name of Vadim Sokolov.
In a joint investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider, the Dossier Center, and Spiegel Online, published in late September, they concluded that Vadim Sokolov traveled to Berlin “under a false name with the active support of the Russian state, which created an integral legend of a fictitious person.”
In particular, Sokolov, received the Russian individual taxpayer number only in July 2019 being a 49-year-old.
At the address where Sokolov allegedly lives in the Russian Federation, no one knows a person with that name. The telephone number of Sokolov’s place of work – CJSC Rust, declared in the package of documents for a Schengen visa, completely coincides with the number of the company owned by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
The passport that Sokolov presented was issued to him only 11 days before filling out the visa application. A person whose name, place and date of birth would correspond to the data indicated in the passport and visa application of Vadim Sokolov is not mentioned in any of the available databases of Russian citizens available to the investigators.
Today, Bellingcat reporters identified a suspect in the murder of a Chechen, saying that the real name of the Russian citizen is Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov.
Khangoshvili was shot dead in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in the very center of Berlin on August 23. He was a field commander during the second Chechen war. In Russia, the authorities put him on the wanted list for terrorism.
Khangoshvili fled to Germany after another assassination attempt was committed in Georgia in 2015.
He was a field commander and close ally of the president of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov. He was shot in the head in a central Berlin park in August when he was heading to a mosque.