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Vienna to expel Russian diplomat amid ‘espionage’ report

Vienna to expel Russian diplomat amid ‘espionage’ report

Austria’s foreign ministry has confirmed that a Russian diplomat will be expelled from the country due to his involving in economic espionage for years, The Local Austria reported.

As the Austrian newspaper, The Kronen Zeitung, said, the Russian diplomat had been given until September 1st to leave the country. The reason for expelling is his espionage activity. He had spied with the help of an Austrian citizen at a high-tech enterprise for years.

“We can confirm that a Russian diplomat will be expelled,” the foreign ministry said in a statement to AFP, stressing Russian’s behaviour had violated diplomatic relations and norms.

The ministry declined to give further details.

The Russian Embassy in Vienna slammed the expulsion order.

“We are outraged by the authorities’ unfounded decision, which is detrimental to constructive relations. We are sure that a corresponding response from Moscow will not be long in coming,” it said in a tweet.

Austria has boasted close ties with Russia in recent years. The most recent example of diplomatic support refers to 2018 when Vienna stressed its neutrality over the Skripals poisoning in the UK. Then back, Austria said it would not follow a number of other EU countries in expelling Russian diplomats.

Another example of warm relations between the two countries is former foreign minister Karin Kneissl invited President Putin to her wedding later that year. Despite the invitation was a private matter, widely circulated photos of Kneissl bowing to Putin after their dance raised questions of Austria’s neutrality.

In June, a retired Austrian army colonel was jailed for three years after being convicted of spying for Russia. The 71-year-old who has not been named “betrayed state secrets at the expense of Austria for a foreign secret service”, a Salzburg court ruled. The verdict found he also “deliberately disclosed a military secret”.