MOSCOW, 10 November – RIA news. The Russian Foreign Ministry has protested with the Austrian ambassador Johannes Aigner in relation to the Vienna declarations on the intentional disclosure of state secrets by a retired Austrian officer in favor of Moscow. This is stated in the message of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The ministry expressed concerns that Austria chose not to discuss its suspicions with the Russian side, through the established dialogue channels, but resorted to a "sensational injection of information in the media" and a public request for explanations from Moscow. AMF has defined this approach as unacceptable.
As noted, the actions of the Austrian side are based on suspicion without any proof. This has already led to a complication of relations between the two countries, which until recently had been characterized by positive dynamics, the statement said.
Scandal of spies
Last Friday it was announced that a retired colonel from the Austrian army was arrested on charges of espionage in Moscow. He is accused of transferring secret information to Russian special services for almost twenty years.
The officer would have to collect data on the country's air forces, artillery systems, the migration crisis and even provide detailed information on a number of high-ranking military personnel. According to the media, every two weeks he had contacts with the Russian side in the person of a man named Yuri.
The suspect risks a sentence of up to ten years.
According to the head of the Austrian Defense Ministry, Mario Kunasek, counterintelligence received data on this case from the "friendly service" a few weeks earlier. As specified by the media, we are talking about the secret services of Germany.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz asked the Russian side for "transparent information" and said that Austria intends to discuss the situation with European partners. Foreign Minister Karin Kneisl has canceled a planned visit earlier in Russia.
Sergei Lavrov, for his part, said he was unpleasantly surprised by the information on the situation with the former colonel. The foreign minister has complained that western partners have established a rule to use "megaphone diplomacy".
Reaction of the EU
As the official of the EU structures told the RIA Novosti today, the EU is aware of the arrest in Austria of the former colonel with the accusation of "spying" "for Russia and is aware of the" challenge "of Moscow in this context.
According to him, the lack of respect for the sovereignty of the States and the interference in their internal affairs is unacceptable.