Thursday 19 September 2019

Police fear 'a second Skripal' as man is shot in Berlin

A 49-year-old Russian man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
A 49-year-old Russian man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Justin Huggler

A man who was shot dead in a Berlin park may have been the victim of a Russian assassination, it is believed.

The German authorities are said to believe the murder, described by witnesses as "execution-style" may be a "second Skripal case".

The victim has been named as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian Muslim who fought against Russia in Chechnya and had links with Georgian intelligence.

Mr Kangoshvili fled to Germany after surviving a previous assassination attempt in Georgia in 2015.

A 49-year-old Russian man has been arrested on suspicion of murder

Mr Khangoshvili was killed on Friday morning while walking through Berlin's Kleintiergarten park on his way to pray in a local mosque.

Witnesses described how his assailant shot him twice in the head from behind before fleeing on a bicycle.

"There are indications this crime was planned and may have had political motives," Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors, said.

"If it turns out a state player like Russia is behind this, we have a second Skripal case on our hands," 'Spiegel' magazine quoted an unnamed German security source as saying.

Sergei Skripal, a Russian former double agent living in Britain, and his daughter Yulia survived an attempt to kill them with nerve gas in Salisbury in March 2018.

The man arrested in Berlin has been named in the German press as Vadim S, a Russian citizen from Siberia. He reportedly denied killing Mr Kangoshvili.

He arrived in Berlin shortly before the killing.

Witnesses said he threw a Glock 26 handgun with silencer into the Spree river together with his bicycle.

Irish Independent

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