Vadim Krasikov.

TBILISI, DFWatch–In prisoner exchange talks with the United States, Moscow has offered to include a hitman affiliated with Russian intelligence, who is serving a life sentence in Germany for the elimination of Chechen field commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a citizen of Georgia.

Russian officials have suggested that the assassin, Vadim Krasikov, be placed on a list of persons to be swapped, which also includes Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout and U.S. citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, Caucasian Knot reports, citing CNN.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was a citizen of Georgia, but he made a name by conducting several successful combat operations against the Russian military during and after the Second Chechen War. Among them was the famous raid on Ingushetia, which was carried out by Chechen and Ingush rebels led by Shamil Basayev and Doku Umarov. Then the rebels killed dozens of policemen and military personnel, including the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ingushetia and his deputy, as well as three officers of the Russian elite special forces unit Vimpel. The total number of dead was 93 people. Khangoshvili’s platoon actively participated in this operation. 

After the operation, the Russian special services started liquidating its participants. Shamil Basaev and Dokka Umarov were assassinated in 2007 and 2013, respectively.

Khangoshvili was originally from the Pankisi valley of Georgia, where local Chechens, Kists, live. After the Chechen resistance weakened, he returned to Georgia, where he survived an armed attack in 2015. Khangoshvili claimed that the attack was the work of the Russian special services who were out to kill him.

Soon he left Georgia and moved to Germany with his family.

Zurab Khangoshvili was killed in 2019 in Berlin. The police quickly arrested Vadim Krasikov, an assassin affiliated with the Russian special services. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by a German court in 2021.