Germany confirms finding Russian diplomat ‘dead’ outside Berlin embassy

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BERLIN, NOV 5: Germany‘s foreign ministry is said a Russian diplomat was found lying dead on the pavement outside Russia’s Berlin embassy in October, confirming a report in German magazine Der Spiegel on Friday, a ministry spokesperson said.

For privacy reasons, the ministry would not give any further details about the case, the foreign ministry spokesperson told a regular government news conference.

The man fell from an upper floor of the embassy building located in Berlin’s Mitte district, according to the report.

Reacting to the deadly incident, Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesman Christofer Burger told journalists in Berlin he was aware of the case but he could not say anything, citing privacy reasons.

According to an official list of diplomats, the diplomat had been accredited as the embassy’s second secretary in Berlin since summer 2019.

German security authorities, however, regarded him as an undercover employee of the Russian domestic intelligence agency FSB (Federal Security Service) which is responsible, among other things, for the fight against terrorism and is linked by Western intelligence services to the so-called Tiergarten Murder, in which an exiled Georgian was shot dead in broad daylight in Berlin in the summer of 2019.

According to reports, officials from the second service of the FSB were also involved in the poison attack on Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny in 2020.

According to Der Spiegel, the circumstances of the alleged fall and the cause of death of the Russian diplomat were “unknown”.

Since the deceased had diplomatic status, the German public prosecutor was unable to conduct a death investigation. It was also unclear whether there were indications of third-party negligence.

According to reports, the diplomat’s body has now been transferred to Russia.

When asked, the Russian Embassy spoke of a “tragic accident” that was not commented on for “ethical reasons”.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, the 40-year-old Georgian, was shot twice in the head at close range in Kleiner Tiergarten park on August 23, 2019, allegedly by a Russian man who was arrested shortly afterwards.

The Russian suspect, 55-year-old Vadim Krasikov, alias Vadim Sokolov, is on trial over the murder, which German prosecutors say was ordered by Moscow.