The Latest: Russia calls Germany expulsions ‘groundless’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with military officials in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. The meeting focused on modernization of the Russian navy. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Germany’s investigation of the killing of a Georgian man (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Russia’s foreign ministry says the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Germany over the August slaying of a Georgian man in Berlin is “groundless” and “unfriendly.”

The German Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin earlier on Wednesday, after Russian authorities didn’t answer requests by Germany to help shed light on the killing of the 40-year-old man.

German federal prosecutors took over the investigation after concluding that evidence suggests involvement either by the government of Russia or the Chechen Republic.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “politicized approach to the investigation is inappropriate” and promised to take “reciprocal measures.”

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12:55 p.m.

Russia is rejecting allegations from Germany that it may have been behind the slaying of a Georgian man in the heart of Berlin this summer.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that there are “no serious suspicions there, and there can’t be.”

He says “what do Russian authorities have to do with it?” and called the allegations “absolutely groundless suggestions.”

The victim of the daylight slaying, Tornike K., was a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity who fought against Russian troops in Chechnya. He had previously survived multiple assassination attempts and continued to receive threats after fleeing to Germany.

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12:45 p.m.

Germany’s foreign ministry says it has expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors announced they suspect Moscow’s involvement in the brazen daylight slaying of a Georgian man in Berlin.

The German Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the expulsion comes after Russian authorities did not answer repeated requests by Germany to help shed light on the slaying in August of Tornike K.

Federal German prosecutors have announced they are taking over the investigation after concluding evidence suggests involvement either by the government of Russia or the Chechen Republic.

The Foreign Ministry identified the diplomats as employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin but not give their names nor their positions.

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12:35 p.m.

Federal German prosecutors say they are taking over the investigation of a brazen daylight slaying of a Georgian man after concluding evidence suggests involvement either by the government of Russia or the Chechen republic.

Prosecutors’ spokesman Markus Schmitt said Wednesday that due to the political nature of the case that has come to light, his office had decided to take over the investigation from Berlin state prosecutors.

He says there are “enough indications of fact that the death of Tornike K. was either contracted by government offices of the Russian Federation or the autonomous Chechen republic as a part of the Russian Federation.”

The Georgian man was shot and killed in broad daylight in Berlin during the summer and police have a suspect in custody.

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