German party chief urges measures against Moscow over Berlin murder

The head of Germany’s conservative party (CDU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has urged fresh measures against Russia in the wake of the murder of a Georgian man in central Berlin earlier this year thought to have been a contract killing with Russian involvement.

“The federal government will have to discuss and decide on further reactions,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag.

“The Russian side must now finally make its contribution to the investigation of this crime,” she added.

The 40-year-old victim was shot to death in broad daylight in a small park in the inner-city Berlin neighbourhood of Moabit on August 23.

The German foreign ministry suspects Russian intelligence agencies were involved in the shooting and on Wednesday expelled two Russian diplomats.

Germany’s federal prosecution service has taken over responsibility for the probe into the shooting.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said the murder was straining relations between Germany and Russia.

“The evidence weighs heavily,” Kramp-Karrenbauer asserted. “Together with the killings in the UK and other Russian activities, it paints a rather disturbing picture.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Russia for giving insufficient assistance to German investigators.

The German investigation is also looking into a possible link to officials in Chechnya, a republic within the Russian Federation that has its own constitution but is still controlled by Moscow.

The victim is said to have fought against Russia on the side of Chechens in the early 2000s. He reportedly survived a May 2015 attempt on his life in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

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