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Newsline: Russia expels four Austrian diplomats

Russia said on Thursday it was expelling four Austrian diplomats in a tit-for-tat move after Vienna expelled four Russian diplomats in a case which appeared to be related to spying. In a statement on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Vienna had taken an “unfriendly and unjustified step” and was ruining Austria’s previous position as a respected, unbiased and neutral state. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/russia-expels-four-austrian-diplomats-in-titfortat-move-2917812) Austria said on Feb. 2 it was expelling four Russian diplomats for behaving in a manner inconsistent with international agreements, a reason often invoked in spying cases, without giving specifics. It gave them a week to leave. Austria still has not elaborated on its reasons for expelling the diplomats, who worked at Russia’s Mission to the United Nations in Vienna and Russia’s Embassy to Austria. “The expulsion of Austrian embassy staff from Russia does not come as a surprise. We regret this unjustified decision by Russia, which lacks any basis in fact,” Austria’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement in response to Russia’s move. “The Austrian embassy employees concerned perform their duties exclusively in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” the statement added. Vienna is a major diplomatic centre hosting the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and United Nations organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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