A Russian spy and diplomat has been found dead after falling from a third-floor window of Moscow’s embassy in Berlin.
Kirill Zhalo, 35, was found lifeless outside the building in central Berlin at 7.20am on October 19 by German guards assigned to protect it. Medics were called but were unable to revive him.
Zhalo appears to have fallen to his death from the upper floor of the building, German newspaper Der Spiegel said, as it broke the news of his death today.
No official cause of death has been given because the embassy refused an autopsy and German prosecutors have no powers to investigate because of Zhalo’s diplomatic status.
Zhalo’s body was repatriated to Russia the following day.
The Russian embassy confirmed Zhalo’s death since the news became public, describing it as a ‘tragic accident’ and saying it will not comment further for ‘ethical reasons.’
‘All the procedures related to repatriating the diplomat’s body back to the homeland were promptly settled with responsible German law-enforcement and medical authorities in accordance with current practices,’ the embassy said in a statement.
It added that ‘speculations which have appeared in a number of Western media’ over the diplomat’s death are ‘absolutely incorrect’.
Zhalo Sr was head of the FSB’s Office for the Protection of the Constitutional System, the sites said, which has been implicated in numerous assassination plots including the failed poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The office was also linked to the failed poisoning of writer Dmitry Bykov in Russia 2019, and two failed poisonings of politician and writer Vladimir Kara-Murza in 2015 and 2017, also in Russia.
Zhalo Sr was also deputy director of the FSB’s Second Service, Bellingcat reported, which was linked to the 2019 assassination of Georgian asylum seeker and former Chechen rebel commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.
Khangoshvili was shot twice in the head in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten park as he went for a run down a wooded track on 23 August.
Zhao Jr had served as Third Secretary to Russia’s permanent representation to the United Nations in Vienna and was based there from at least 2013 until 2019.
He then moved to Berlin in June 2019, two months before Khangoshvili was killed.
Zhalo Jr was officially working in Berlin as a diplomat, but German security services suspect he was actually an undercover spy.