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tensions rising

Germany expels Russian diplomats following assassination in Berlin

Two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin have been expelled from Germany, after the country's federal public prosecutor said there is "sufficient factual evidence" linking Russia to an assassination that took place over the summer.

German authorities said the Aug. 23 killing was conducted by either Russian or Chechen intelligence agents. Prosecutors refer to the victim as "Tornike K.," a 40-year-old Russian-Georgian citizen deemed a "terrorist" by Moscow, The Washington Post reports. He was in charge of a Chechen militia between 2000 and 2004, and fought against Russian forces. After being shot four times in 2015, he went to Germany and claimed asylum.

The German Foreign Ministry said Russian authorities have ignored requests from "high-ranking" officials for help investigating the murder, and the two employees are now "persona non gratae." A Russian presidential spokesman called the accusation that the country was responsible for the killing "absolutely groundless." If Moscow was involved in the assassination, it would be Russia's first killing in Germany since the end of the Cold War, the Post says.