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Austria expels 4 Russian diplomats

Austria has revoked the diplomatic status of four Russian civil servants working in Vienna, the Austrian foreign ministry said in a press release Thursday.

The four Russian diplomats “have engaged in acts incompatible with their diplomatic status” and “must leave the territory of the Republic of Austria within one week at the latest, i.e. by the end of 8 February,” the statement reads.

Two of the diplomats worked at the Russian embassy in Vienna and the other two were from the permanent mission to the United Nations.

The Austrian capital became a spy nest during the Cold War — largely thanks to its proximity to the Iron Curtain — and is still considered a hotspot for international espionage.

European security services have cracked down on alleged Russian spies since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine last February.

Around 400 Russian intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover — about half the total number active in Europe — have been expelled, according to Western intelligence officials.

Last Sunday, two people suspected of spying for Russia were arrested in Slovenia.

Over the past two months, two German citizens — including an employee of Germany’s own intelligence services — have been arrested on suspicion of espionage.

Source : Politico



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