Slovakia said on Monday it has expelled three staff at the Russian embassy in Bratislava whilst citing abuse of Slovak visas, which local media said was linked with a murder of a Georgian man in Berlin last year.

Iran Press/Europe: “According to information from the Slovak intelligence services, their activities were in contradiction with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations,” a Slovak foreign ministry spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“On top of that, there had been an abuse of visas issued at the Slovak general consulate in St. Petersburg, and in this connection, a serious crime was committed on the territory of another EU and NATO member state,” he said.

The ministry did not provide further details but the justification brings the expulsions into connection with the murder of a former Chechen rebel with Georgian citizenship in Berlin last summer.

Slovak media, as well as investigative website bellingcat.com, have reported that one of the people suspected of involvement in the killing, though not the shooting itself, had traveled to Europe on a Slovak visa.

Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok ordered a probe into visa issuance at the St. Petersburg consulate last month.

The Kremlin has categorically rejected the idea that there was any link between the killing and the Russian government.

The Slovak foreign ministry said the Russian diplomats must leave the country this week.

Russia said it would respond to the Slovak decision in kind.

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