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Russian diplomat found dead outside Berlin embassy

Headlines 19:15 05 Nov, 2021

The man's body was discovered on the pavement on 19 October by police guarding the Berlin compound

Russian diplomat found dead outside Berlin embassy

A Russian diplomat was found dead last month outside Russia's embassy in the German capital, it has emerged.

The man's body was discovered on the pavement on 19 October by police guarding the Berlin compound, Der Spiegel website reported.

The man had apparently fallen from an upper floor, but it was unclear how, it added.

Germany's foreign ministry confirmed the diplomat's death to reporters but would not give further details.

Police in Berlin have not publicly commented on the diplomat's death, which was reported for the first time on Friday.

Der Spiegel said the embassy called it a "tragic accident" on which it would not comment "for ethical reasons".

The man has not been officially named, but reports say he was 35 years old and listed as a second secretary of the Russian embassy. German security sources are said to suspect he was an undercover agent of Russia's FSB intelligence service and related to a high-ranking officer within the unit.

Investigative website Bellingcat said it had used open source data to establish the man was the son of the deputy director of the FSB's Second Service.

It has previously linked the Second Service to the murder of Georgian national and former Chechen rebel commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was shot in the head in a Berlin park in August 2019.

According to Der Spiegel, the Russian embassy did not agree to an autopsy following the diplomat's death last month, and his body has now been transferred to Russia.