Austrian president calls for thorough investigation of espionage case

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Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen

Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen


© EPA-EFE/FLORIAN WIESER

VIENNA, November 10. /TASS/. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen has called for a comprehensive investigation into the case of retired Austrian colonel suspected of spying for Russia.

“Espionage is unacceptable. This case should be thoroughly investigated,” Van der Bellen said in an interview with the ·sterreich newspaper.

The Austrian authorities are investigating a 70-year-old retired army colonel who has allegedly transferred information on the migrant crisis, Austria’s military aviation and artillery systems to Russia’s military intelligence since the late 1990s. The Austrian Public Prosecutor’s Office has initiated a criminal case against the retired colonel. If found guilty, he may face up to ten years behind bars. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Defense Minister Mario Kunasek confirmed the espionage probe was underway.

Kurz earlier said that Kneissl had cancelled her visit to Russia, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted there had been no queries from Vienna to Moscow over its suspicions.

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