On November 9, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated that a recently retired Austrian colonel was suspected of conducting espionage for Russia for decades. His spying activities were believed to have begun in the 1990s, Kurz told reporters, without naming the officer.
“We have to inform you that Austria suspects that a retired colonel of the Austrian Armed Forces has worked with the Russian intelligence service for many years. According to our information, it began in the 1990s and lasted until 2018,” he said. “If the suspicion is confirmed, such cases, regardless of whether they take place in the Netherlands or in Austria, do not improve relations between Russia and the European Union.”
Kruz claimed that he will discuss further steps with other EU member states and revealed that Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl had summoned a Russian representative and cancelled her scheduled trip to Russia. He also urged Russia to provide “transparent” information about the alleged incident.
According to the Russian state-run media, Russia’s foreign intelligence service has refused to comment on the accusations.
Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported citing own sources that the country’s intelligence services had detained a 70-year-old ex-Austrian colonel on November 8. This person had allegedly spied for Russia. The suspect had reportedly received 300,000 EUR from his alleged the Rusian spepcial services. He allegedly faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail.