The Austrian Foreign Ministry has declared persona non grata four Russian diplomats working in Vienna, the newspaper Österreich reports, citing a statement from the department.
As specified, it is going about two employees of the Russian embassy, who were suspected of activities “incompatible with their diplomatic status”, and two other employees of the Russian permanent mission to the UN in Vienna, who are suspected of “violating the charter of the organization”. All four are ordered to leave Austria by the end of the day on February 8, 2023.
Austria has not put forward any specific charges for the expulsion of the four Russian diplomats, and Russia strongly protested to the Austrian Foreign Ministry and warned of the inevitability of retaliatory measures, Russian Ambassador to Austria, Dmitry Lyubinsky, said on February 2 on the Rossiya 24 TV channel.
“Yesterday we had two separate conversations at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, in the late afternoon, Permanent Representative Mikhail Ulyanov and I were invited to talk. Interestingly, we were asked to arrive unaccompanied. This is quite rare, but in diplomatic practice it occurs when it is necessary to discuss something confidentially. We didn’t hear anything confidential. For our part, we strongly protested, rejected all unfounded fabrications, and warned of the inevitability of retaliatory measures,” Lubinsky said.
At the same time, he stressed that no specific charges were brought for the expulsion of Russian diplomats. According to him, Vienna is making a conscious choice in favor of the collapse of relations with Moscow.