Russia denies involvement in shooting death of Georgian man in Berlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is shown during a press conference in the Finland Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Aug. 21, 2019. LEHTIKUVA / ANTTI AIMO-KOIVISTO

BERLIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman on Wednesday denied media reports that Moscow may have been involved in the brazen daytime slaying of a Georgian man in Berlin.

Berlin prosecutors have released little about Friday’s killing, except to say the 40-year-old victim was shot by a cyclist, who was captured shortly afterward and identified as a 48-year-old Russian man.

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Prosecutors wouldn’t comment on reports the victim was an ex-insurgent who fought Russian forces in Chechnya, nor speculation he may have been targeted.

They did say, however, that federal prosecutors, who deal with espionage cases, aren’t currently involved.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had nothing to do with the crime.

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“This case has nothing to do with the Russian state, with authorities. I resolutely deny any connection between the killing and Russian officialdom,” he said.

Steven Alter, a spokesman for Germany’s Interior Ministry, said the case was being handled by Berlin regional authorities and the facts were still being determined.

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“Everything further that you can read in media reports is, in my evaluation and in the evaluation of our ministry, speculation at the moment,” he said.