Germany to Hold Off Action on Russia as Murder Case Proceeds

Germany signaled it will hold off on taking further action against Moscow until a verdict is reached in a case in which Russian officials areaccused of ordering the killing of a political opponent in a Berlin city park last year.

The murder case could stretch into next year, holding off further diplomatic measures as tensions between Berlin and Moscow simmer. Germany’s Federal Prosecutor on Thursday charged a Russian national with murdering an ethnic Georgian man in broad daylight on Aug. 23.

“The federal prosecutor’s charges are extraordinarily grave, so it’s urgently necessary that justice authorities and the courts comprehensively clarify this case and deliver an appropriate verdict,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Berlin on Friday as he met with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Maas said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had already taken action with the expulsion of two Russian embassy employees last December. It is also pursuingEuropean Union cyber sanctions against Russian individuals connected with a 2015 cyber attack on the Bundestag.

The German minister said the Russian ambassador was called into the Foreign Ministry on Thursday to drive home the point.

“We made our position unambiguously clear, that we reserve the right to take further action, particularly with respect to the verdict that will be delivered in this case,” Maas said.

— With assistance by Karin Matussek

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