The Kremlin has accused Germany of covering up the rape of a 13-year-old girl by refugees, after Berlin police claimed there was no evidence that the alleged crime had taken place.
In the report aired earlier this month on Russia's Channel One, it was alleged that a girl from a Russian immigrant family had been raped by refugee men repeatedly after going missing for more than 30 hours. However in a statement Berlin police said there was no evidence a crime ever took place, and urged the public not to spread unsubstantiated rumours. Following the report, there were calls for the channel's Berlin correspondent to face prosecution for inciting racial hatred.
Wading into the controversy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Germany of "covering up reality in a politically correct manner for the sake of domestic politics" at his annual press conference, Russia's TASS news agency reported. He added he hoped that "there would be no repeat of cases like that with our Lisa", saying "it's completely clear that she didn't disappear voluntarily for 30 hours."
Berlin police say they will release no further details of the case out of respect for the privacy of the girl and her family. Berlin prosecutors are investigating the case.
The case has been seized by German anti-immigrant groups including Pegida, which held a rally attended by hundreds of Russian immigrants outside the Berlin offices of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It comes after German police were accused of covering up mass sexual assault by immigrant men in Cologne on New Year's Eve, prompting the resignation of the town's chief of police.