Russia Expels Austrian Diplomats and Threatens Further Measures

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: April 17, 2024; 18:23 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the latest twist in diplomatic relations between Austria and Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry has declared an Austrian diplomat an "undesirable person". This decision follows the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Austria in March in connection with allegations of espionage.

According to Austrian information, a total of 15 people with diplomatic status are currently working for the Austrian embassy in Moscow, including the diplomat concerned. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Shakko / CC BY-SA 4.0 (

The expulsion of the Austrian embassy employee marks an escalation of bilateral tensions, as DiePresse reports. Russia describes the measure as a reaction to an "unfounded declaration" by Austria, which had declared two Russian employees of its embassy in Vienna to be "undesirable persons". The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasizes that this "unfriendly gesture" further strains bilateral relations and damages Austria's reputation as a neutral state and center for international diplomacy.

The Russian ministry also announced that the response would not be limited to expulsion. What exactly these further steps entail remains unclear, but the ministry hints at possible administrative harassment of the Austrian embassy in Moscow.

A spokeswoman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna expressed regret at Russia's decision, which she described as "unjustified" and without "factual basis". She assured that the functioning of the Austrian embassy in Moscow will continue to be guaranteed, in particular, to protect the interests of Austrian citizens in Russia.

Despite the current tensions, 15 Austrian diplomats are currently working in Moscow. However, the Russian presence in Austria is significantly larger, with a total of 151 Russian diplomats accredited both at the bilateral embassy and at international organizations in Vienna.

The homepage of the Austrian Foreign Ministry lists 151 Russian diplomats, as reported by DiePresse. Of these, 56 Russians are accredited to the bilateral embassy, 95 people represented Russia at international organizations in Vienna, and four diplomats are listed as employees of the Russian Consulate General in Salzburg. Five diplomats, including Ambassador Dmitry Lyubinsky, are accredited both for the bilateral embassy and for representation at international organizations.

The latest developments underline the strained relations between the two countries and raise questions about the impact on diplomatic cooperation in Europe. The international community is monitoring the situation with concern, as further escalations could jeopardize stability in the region.

Austrian MFA