MOSCOW, November 10 – RIA News. The Russian Foreign Ministry protested the Austrian Ambassador Johannes Aigner in connection with Vienna's statement about disclosing intentional state secrets by a retired Austrian officer who supported Moscow. This is stated in the Russian Foreign Ministry message.
The Ministry expressed confusion over the fact that Austria chose not to discuss with the Russian side, through an established dialogue channel, its suspicion, but used "sensational information injections in the media" and public requests for explanations from Moscow. The MFA calls this approach unacceptable.
As noted, the Austrian action was based on suspicion without evidence. This has involved complications of relations between the two countries, which to date have been marked by positive dynamics, the statement said.
On Friday, it was discovered that a retired Austrian colonel was arrested on suspicion of spying for Moscow. He was accused of transferring classified information to Russian special services for almost twenty years.
The officer was allegedly supposed to gather data about the country's air force, the artillery system, the migration crisis, and also provide detailed information about a number of high-ranking military personnel. According to media reports, every two weeks he is in touch with the Russian side in a man named Yuri.
Suspects face up to ten years in prison.
According to the head of the Austrian Ministry of Defense, Mario Kunasek, counterintelligence, received data about this case from "friendly service" a few weeks earlier. As determined by the media, we talk about special services from Germany.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz demanded that the Russian side "transparent information" and said that Austria intended to discuss the situation with European partners. Foreign Minister Karin Kneisl canceled a previously scheduled visit to Russia.
Sergei Lavrov, for his part, said that he was unpleasantly surprised by information about the situation with the ex-colonel. The foreign minister complained that Western partners made the rules to use "megaphone diplomacy."
As officials in the EU structure told RIA Novosti on Friday, the European Union realized the arrest in Austria of the ex-colonel on charges of "spying" for Russia and realizing "challenges" from Moscow in this context.
According to him, not respecting state sovereignty and interfering in their internal affairs is not acceptable.