Austria announced on Thursday the expulsion of four Russian officials what they did “tasks incompatible with their diplomatic status” -a usual formulation to express suspicions of espionage– and to those who give a maximum of one week to leave the alpine country.
The Foreign Ministry released a statement stating that they are two diplomats from the bilateral embassy and two others from the Russian permanent representation before international organizations in Vienna, a city where the UN has the headquarters of several important agencies.
The four Russian officials have been declared persona non grata in Austria, the latest country to expel Russian diplomats in recent months for not respecting international standards regarding their accredited personnel. The Austrian press talks about an expulsion due to suspicions of espionage.
Austria has anchored the principle of neutrality in its Constitution since 1955, and it is one of the four countries of the European Union -along with Malta, Ireland and Hungary- that it has not delivered weapons to Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion.
However, this principle of “military neutrality” does not mean that Austria has a neutral position in the face of the conflict, as the Austrian president recalled on Wednesday in kyiv, Alexander Van der Bellenwho traveled there to express his solidarity and support from Vienna to the invaded country.
Neutrality, which is military but not legal or politicalnor has it prevented Austria from joining -along with the other EU countries- the sanctions against Moscow and condemn the invasion and illegal annexation territory of the neighboring country.
(With information from EFE)
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