We have shared several of Bellingcat’s detailed reports on the August 2019 assassination of Georgian asylum seeker Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin. Bellingcat reported that the suspected assassin, who traveled to Berlin under the name of Va Dim Sokolov, is actually Vadim Krasikov.
The case is currently in the trial phase in a Berlin court; a verdict is expected in the first half of 2021. The prosecution believes there is overwhelming forensic evidence that the detained suspect is in fact the assassin – including DNA match with items disposed of by the killer in the Spree river. However, the connection of the killing to Russian state largely hinges on the case that “Va Dim Sokolov” and Krasikov are the same person. The accused maintains that his name is Va Dim Sokolov, that he was a tourist in Berlin, and that he is not aware of a Krasikov. The defense lawyers argue that the evidence of identity of the two personas is inconclusive, and is based solely on a facial comparison.
In Bellingcat’s recent article, they received data that includes photographs from what appears to be a 2010 wedding album of Vadim Krasikov and his current wife. They also include a marriage certificate, showing the husband’s name as “Vadim Krasikov”. The data was obtained during a special operation of Ukrainian law enforcement in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city and the hometown of Vadim Krasikov’s wife.
One image of Vadim Krasikov is him sitting on a beach in a baseball cap and a tank top. Visible in the photograph is a large tattoo on his left shoulder. This tattoo is identical to the tattoo seen on the shoulder of the man claiming to be “Vadim Sokolov”. German indictment documents as well as a police file describing the arrested “Sokolov” refer to a second tattoo – of a snake – on his lower right arm. This is compatible with a tattoo partially visible on the lower right arm of Krasikov’s beach photo.
These photos could become a crucial component in the prosecution’s case. If the new data makes its way to the evidence file of the ongoing court case – which is nearing its final phase – it may be enough to convince the court that “Va Dim Sokolov” does not exist, and that on the eve of the assassination, the Russian state issued fake identity documents to Vadim Krasikov. This would strengthen the prosecution’s case that the killing was commissioned by the Russian state. The court will then have to weigh the voluminous – while circumstantial – evidence that Krasikov acted on behalf of the Russian state against the defendant’s continued silence.
If a court verdict does corroborate the prosecution’s indictment, a new set of diplomatic sanctions from Germany are expected. The German government has already committed to further, harsher sanctions against Russia if the court verdict confirms the accusation of state involvement in Khangoshvili’s assassination. Its time for Germany to step up and lead the charge against Russia.
Europe can not afford to lose one more life! SANCTION PUTIN AND THE KREMLIN!