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Germany rejects Putin claim on Berlin slaying victim

BERLIN – Germany on Wednesday rejected an assertion by Russian President Vladimir Putin that it failed to comply with requests from Moscow to extradite a Georgian man who was killed in Berlin in August.

German prosecutors said last week that evidence suggests the slaying was ordered either by Moscow or authorities in Russia's republic of Chechnya. Germany expelled two Russian diplomats a week ago.

Russia has rejected the accusations and threatened to retaliate for the expulsion of its diplomats.

On Monday night, Putin said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French and Ukrainian leaders that the victim "was on a wanted list, he was a militant, a very cruel man who shed a lot of blood.''

Putin said that he didn't know what happened to the man, but added: “it’s a bandit milieu, and anything may happen there.”

He said that Russia had repeatedly requested the man’s extradition from Germany, but “regrettably it wasn’t met with understanding.”

Germany pushed back against that assertion.

“The German government is not aware of any extradition requests from Russia for the victim," Justice Ministry spokesman Stefan Zimmermann told reporters in Berlin.

Merkel's spokesman reiterated calls for Russia to cooperate in the investigation.

“Our position is clear ... we are calling on the Russian side to cooperate and make available to us the information it has," Steffen Seibert said.

A suspect is in custody in Germany.