Austria gets into a diplomatic tussle with Russia for the first time
Austria expels a Russian diplomat, the republic’s Foreign Ministry said. The ministry claims that the Russian’s actions violate the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.
"I can confirm that a Russian diplomat will be expelled. His behavior violates the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations," Austrian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
On Monday, the Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported that Austria declared a Russian diplomat persona non grata, and that the diplomat must leave its territory until September 1. According to the newspaper, the diplomat is suspected of industrial espionage.
According to the Kronen Zeitung, the diplomat is suspected of gathering information through an Austrian citizen working at one of Austria’s high-tech enterprises. The citizen reported the espionage activities himself and named the Russian diplomat as his curator. The Russian citizen declined to comment, citing his diplomatic immunity, the report says.
Russian Embassy is outraged by the Austrian authorities’ decision to expel a Russian diplomat and it is certain that Moscow’s symmetrical response will follow promptly, the Embassy said.
"We are outraged by the Austrian authorities’ unfounded decision, harmful for constructive Russian-Austrian relations. We are certain that Moscow’s symmetrical response will follow promptly," TASS cited the Embassy as saying.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry refrained from commenting on details of the incident.