Liga.net reports that the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated at a press conference that Austria intends to preserve good relations with Russia, despite the recent espionage scandal.
“We have a good relationship with Russia, and this will not change in the future,” stated Kurz.
At the same time, the chancellor stressed that Austria will always “prevent and criticize” espionage attempts.
Earlier in Austria, a former officer who from the 1990’s had been giving information to Russia regarding Austrian military aviation and artillery systems, was detained.
Due to the espionage scandal in Austria, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl canceled her trip to Russia. Austrian Ambassador Johannes Aigner was sent to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to voice a protest.
In spring, Austria became one of the few EU countries that did not expel Russian diplomats after the poisoning of the former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. In addition, later Russian President Vladimir Putin was a guest at Karin Kneissl’s wedding.
Exposing the spy in Austria will give Vienna a chance to see the new Russia, whose methods have not changed for more than one hundred years, believes the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. “Don Cossacks, dancing at weddings, even business as usual; Russian meddling will not be stopped by anything. A stance of neutrality will not protect from Russian spies in the ranks of the armed forces,” he explained.