19 November 2018

Austria hopes for Russia’s cooperation in officer’s spy case

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Austria expects that Russia will cooperate in full over the case of a retired Austrian officer suspected of spying for Moscow, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said on Saturday after her phone talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. reports citing TASS that according to Kneissl, she rejected Russian accusations that Austria was doing megaphone diplomacy.

"The Austrian government’s steps are based on clear facts," Kneissl said.

"The case is related to a criminal offence which demanded involvement of judicial bodies and made the immediate informing of the public inevitable," says Kneissl’s statement published by the Austrian Press Agency.

"This espionage case stands as an inadmissible interference in domestic affairs. We expect Russia will fully cooperate in investigating the case," she said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry pointed out after the ministers’ conversation that Russia underscored "inadmissibility of the practice, which runs counter to norms of international communication, of making evidence-free accusations public." The Russian Foreign Ministry added that Kneissl clarified the motives behind Vienna’s decisions in this case and also expressed the hope that those steps would not affect the future development of bilateral cooperation.

On Friday, Austria’s authorities said that the country’s law enforcement agencies were conducting an investigation into a case of a 70-yeal-old retired Austrian colonel who was suspected of working for Russian intelligence since the 1990s and of providing Moscow with information about Austria’s air force, artillery systems, high-ranking officials and the migrant crisis. If the man is found guilty, he may face a prison term of up to ten years.

2018.11.11 / 11:18
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