Russia Sanctions

Austria's External Trade Deficit 2023 has Fallen Sharply

Austria recorded a remarkable reduction in its foreign trade deficit in 2023. As the latest figures from Statistics Austria show, the deficit fell by around 90 percent from 20.59 billion euros in 2022 to just 2.02 billion euros. This decrease is mainly due to cheaper energy imports, especially gas.

June 25, 2024

Russia Expels ORF Correspondent Maria Knips-Witting

In a surprising diplomatic escalation, Russia has withdrawn the accreditation of ORF correspondent Maria Knips-Witting and ordered her to leave the country as quickly as possible. This measure was described by the Russian side as a “forced measure” and explained as a reaction to the withdrawal of the accreditations of two Russian journalists from the state news agency TASS in Austria. Knips-Witting has been reporting from Moscow since January 2024.

June 11, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International Withdraws from Controversial STRABAG Transaction

Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) has announced that it will no longer pursue the planned acquisition of shares in STRABAG SE. This decision was made public in an ad hoc announcement in which the bank stated that it had not received the necessary comfort in discussions with the relevant authorities to proceed with the transaction. RBI therefore decided to refrain from the transaction for reasons of prudence.

May 15, 2024

High Turnover of Russian Embassy Staff in Austria

The Austrian authorities are at the center of a sensitive security debate as diplomatic relations with Russia are strained by high staff turnover and serious allegations of espionage. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg addresses these issues in light of new parliamentary questions.

May 13, 2024

Diplomatic Collisions on the Nuclear Front: Global Nervousness over Russia's Nuclear Maneuvers

Increasing tensions and recent developments regarding nuclear exercises and rhetoric pose a number of challenges for Europe, European security and especially Austria as the home of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

May 6, 2024

RBI in a Balancing Act Between Sanction Risks and Solid Management

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is currently caught between geopolitical tensions and its own business progress. Recent developments have led the bank to take cautious steps to avoid sanction risks on the one hand and to present its robust quarterly results on the other, which show that the bank remains strong even without the income from Russia and Belarus.

May 2, 2024

Flow-Through Capital Despite Sanctions: Russian Investments in Austria Continue to Flow

While international tensions and the war in Ukraine, which has been going on for more than two years, are putting a heavy strain on relations between Russia and the West, Austria remains a remarkably robust magnet for Russian investment. Contrary to expectations that the extensive international sanctions against Russia would curb capital flows, the latest data from the Austrian Ministry of Economic Affairs' investment control report shows a different reality: Russian investments in Austria rose by 14% to EUR 25.5 billion in the first half of 2022.

April 22, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International Expects ECB Call to Accelerate Withdrawals from Russia

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is facing increasing pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) to reduce its business activities in Russia more rapidly. This follows a number of developments and the publication of an ad hoc announcement by the bank in which it is expected that the ECB will make an official request to accelerate the wind-down measures in the near future.

April 18, 2024

Austria Expels Two Russian Diplomats and Austrian Ambassador in Moscow is Summoned

After Austria recently declared two Russian diplomats undesirable persons, Russia is now summoning Austria's ambassador to the Foreign Ministry. This indicates a serious deterioration in diplomatic relations between the two countries. So far, a total of eleven Russian diplomats have been expelled from Austria since 2020

March 14, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International Under Observation by U.S. Sanctions Authorities

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), a prominent financial institution based in Austria, is the focus of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) due to its ongoing business relationship with Russia. OFAC has contacted the bank to request details of its transactions and processes related to Russia.

March 11, 2024

Financial Market Authority Initiates Investigations Against Raiffeisen Bank International

The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) has launched an investigation into Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). The focus is on possible deficiencies in the implementation of money laundering prevention measures, as can be seen from the bank's annual report published today.

February 25, 2024

Decline in Frozen Russian Assets in Austria

The significant drop in the volume of frozen Russian assets in Austria, as observed over the past year, mirrors a broader trend seen in other countries, where the handling and status of these assets have been dynamic and subject to legal, political, and financial considerations.

February 21, 2024

Political Thriller Around the Abramovich Villa in Austria

The sale of a villa on Lake Fuschl to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's family in Salzburg has been revealed to have disappeared. The property was acquired through an offshore letterbox company and a British trustee. The Green Party is now calling for the sale to be reversed, requiring a trust deed. The party is seeking clarification on how the sale can be reversed without the deed.

January 9, 2024

Ukraine Removes Raiffeisen Bank International from the List of "War Sponsors"

The Ukrainian government has temporarily removed Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) from the controversial list of "war sponsors". This step follows intensive bilateral talks and consultations with representatives of the European Commission. RBI, which was previously criticized for its business activities in Russia and the recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics by its Russian subsidiary, is now no longer suspected of supporting the Russian war of aggression.

December 17, 2023

Uncovering of Money Laundering and Real Estate Fraud in Austria and Cyprus

New leaks have uncovered a complex network of opaque asset transfers centered around Russian oligarchs and Austrian real estate. According to the investigative project "Cyprus Confidential", Austrian real estate is particularly popular with wealthy Russians. Around 40 Cypriot companies own real estate in Vienna, often penthouses in expensive locations.

November 16, 2023

Ukraine Will Block Gas Transit: Challenges and Opportunities for OMV and Europe

Ukraine's decision to stop transiting Russian natural gas to the West from 2025 poses a significant challenge for OMV and for several European countries. The announcement, made by the head of Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz, Olexiy Chernyshov, raises several questions about energy security and dependence on Russian gas.

October 29, 2023

Strengthening Diplomatic Ties: Outcomes of Austrian-Armenian Meeting in Vienna

The meeting between the Austrian and Armenian Foreign Ministers addressed crucial regional and global issues, including migration, security, and humanitarian challenges. The signing of the Readmission Agreement Protocol and discussions on various topics laid a foundation for further cooperation and diplomatic efforts between the two nations.

July 25, 2023

OMV Secures Additional European Gas Transmission and Pipeline Capacities until 2028

The listed oil and gas group OMV has successfully secured additional European gas transport capacities and gas pipeline capacities. This measure serves to secure Austria's gas supply and enables OMV to meet its delivery obligations in the medium term.

July 12, 2023

Austria's Interior Minister Karner Refers to EU Entry Ban on Question of Asylum for Prigozhin

Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner has stated that the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has no prospect of asylum in Austria. Initially, Karner spoke of a case-by-case examination to answer a related question but later specified via a spokesman that Prigozhin was on the EU sanctions list and therefore not allowed to enter the country.

June 26, 2023

Mansion in Austrian Kitzbühel Bought by Sanctioned Russian Oligarch

Russian oligarch and confidant of President Vladimir Putin, Arkady Rotenberg, is said to have financed a house in Kitzbühel, where Putin's daughter is also said to have spent time, according to media reports.

June 21, 2023

European Ministers of Serbia and Austria Emphasize the Importance of Relations

During her working visit to Belgrade, Austrian Minister for European Affairs Karoline Edtstadler met with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and her ministerial colleague Tanja Miščević.

May 22, 2023

Gazprom Austria Inventory is Now Being Auctioned Off

The Gazprom subsidiary in Austria has become insolvent, and now its assets are being auctioned off at the Aurena auction house. The offer includes 240 exhibits and the purchase of Russian business memorabilia.

May 22, 2023

Austrian OMV Declares Exit from Russian Gas as "Extremely Difficult"

The CEO of the Austrian energy group OMV, Alfred Stern, currently sees hardly any possibility to get out of the Russian business with natural gas. He also sees no alternative to fossil fuels in the short term and talked about relations with Asia-Pacific.

March 28, 2023

Minister Schallenberg and his Serbian Counterpart Ivica Dacic Met in Vienna

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Serbian counterpart in Vienna, where they discussed the relations between the countries and the normalization process between Serbia and Kosovo.

March 23, 2023

Austrian Justice Minister Zadic Wants to Strengthen the International Criminal Court

EU justice ministers have met again in Brussels to discuss the legal consequences of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine. Austria's Justice Minister Alma Zadic wants to strengthen the International Court of Justice in the fight against war crimes in the Ukraine war.

March 12, 2023

City of Vienna: Europe's Nuclear Energy Sector is Heavily Dependent on Russia

The European Union's recently adopted tenth package of sanctions against Russia continues to leave one area completely untouched - nuclear energy. A new study by the Cities for Nuclear Free Europe network, where Vienna is also involved, aims to prove interconnections between the European and Russian nuclear sectors.

March 5, 2023

Ex-OMV Chief Doubts Policy Statements on Russian Gas Pullout

Russian gas supplies to Austria are currently causing discussions. While the Austrian government wants to do without gas supplies from Russia altogether by 2027, OMV refers to long-term contracts.

March 1, 2023

Neutrality Debate in Austria's Parliament at Ukraine Session

On the occasion of the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there was a lively debate in the Austrian parliament about the attitude towards the aggressor Russia and about neutrality. An open letter in Austria, in which signatories call for a responsible debate about the country's neutrality, also fueled the session in parliament.

February 24, 2023

Minister Edtstadler Wants to Maintain Unity in the European Union

Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler said that the European Union must maintain unity despite the economy and the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

February 24, 2023

Raiffeisen Probed by U.S. Sanctions Authority

Raiffeisen Bank International, an Austrian lender that plays a critical role in the Russian economy, is under investigation by the US sanctions authority over its Russia-related business.

February 18, 2023

Ukraine Wants to Boycott OSCE-Meeting Because of Russian Delegation

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is not going through its best times. Especially Austria’s role in it. After many countries sent an open letter to Austria to disinvite the Russian delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly, countries are now boycotting the meeting.

February 16, 2023

Moscow Expels Four Austrian Diplomats from Russia

Russia has announced that it will expel four Austrian diplomats. In addition to the expulsion of the Austrian diplomats, the Austrian ambassador in Moscow, Werner Almhofer, was also cited to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This comes as a kind of retaliation after Vienna itself expelled four Russian diplomats a few weeks ago.

February 16, 2023

Russian Ambassador Lyubinsky Criticized Austria

Russia's Ambassador to Vienna Dmitry Lyubinsky detects an erosion of Austria's neutrality status and sees a "huge minus sign" in front of Russian-Austrian relations. However, Lyubinsky also spoke of maintaining contacts with influential people in Austria.

February 13, 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Received Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg

Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg in Washington, D.C., as a sign of the strong transatlantic partnership. In the first bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers, the two discussed cooperation on the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Western Balkans, the expansion of Austria's Strategic Partnership with the United States, and the Turkish earthquake disaster.

February 12, 2023

Austria's Vice-Chancellor and Sports Minister Kogler Against Russia's and Belarus's Participation in the 2024 Olympics

Unlike the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC), Austria's Vice Chancellor and Sports Minister Werner Kogler is strictly against Russia's and Belarus's participation in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. According to Kogler, "it is simply unacceptable for Ukrainian athletes to compete against Russian and Belarusian athletes in the fight for medals."

February 9, 2023

Austria Obligated to Grant Visas Says OSCE

The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) has decided in a parliament assembly that Austria must grant visas to all visiting member states, including Russia. The visas for the Russian Delegation have caused quite some controversy in the last week however, the visa issues seem to be settled.

February 8, 2023

Austria Expels Four Russian Diplomats

Austria expels four Russian diplomats. This was announced by the Foreign Ministry, according to a statement. The four diplomats are accused of "incompatible actions" with their diplomatic status. This expulsion, however, goes beyond espionage and incompatible acts, according to experts.

February 2, 2023

Austria Stuck in a Dilemma at the OSCE

Austria may cause some controversy at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna by letting sanctioned Russian politicians enter the country and granting them visas. Moreover, of all days, the Parliamentary Assembly will be held on February 23 and 24.

February 1, 2023

Minister Edtstadler Met With Hungarian Minister Varga in Vienna

Austrian Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler has met with the Hungarian Minister of Justice Judit Varga in Vienna where they talked about current challenges such as illegal immigration and the Russian aggression on Ukraine.

January 31, 2023

OSCE Condemns Russia’s Decision to Outlaw Independent News Outlet Meduza

Moscow continues its campaign against opposition Russian media with unabated vigor. The Riga-based web portal "Meduza" is banned completely in Russia. The OSCE denounced the Russian authorities’ decision to outlaw one of the most popular Russian-language news portals.

January 31, 2023

Chancellor Nehammer Visited Georgia

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has visited Georgia and expressed his support for the country’s EU integration. He also understood the complicated situation and showed comprehension regarding the Russia sanctions.

January 30, 2023

EU Extends Sanctions Against Russia

The European Union is extending its economic sanctions against the Russian Federation for the aggression in Ukraine. The sanctions will be extended for a half year now.

January 29, 2023

Moscow Bans Oldest Russian Human Rights NGO Related to OSCE

A court in the Russian capital has ordered the closure of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a human rights organization founded in Soviet times. The Russian Justice Ministry's request for liquidation was granted, Judge Mikhail Kazakov ruled in the Moscow City Court. The OSCE strongly condemns this, especially since the Helsinki Group is linked with the establishment of the OSCE itself.

January 26, 2023

Exchange of Topics Between Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Counterpart of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani, where they discussed several topics including topics regarding the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). From January 1, North Macedonia has taken over as the chair of the organization for this year.

January 11, 2023 · Updated: January 20, 2023; 12:00

Serbia's Complicated Relationship with Russia

Serbia's relatively close relationship with Russia, while based on a somewhat haggard history, has been rather positive in recent years. Since Russia's attack, but also before, this relationship has been crumbling more and more. There are several reasons for this, some of which are currently intensifying.

January 19, 2023

Austrian Companies Remain Strong in Russia

Many Austrian companies are active in Eastern Europe, especially in the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia. Especially in Russia, the activity of Austrian companies has been very successful but is controversial due to the Russian attack on Ukraine. According to research by the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), almost a year after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, two-thirds of the previously present companies from Austria are still active in Russia.

January 18, 2023

Swiss President Alain Berset Visited Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen welcomed the newly inaugurated Swiss President Alain Berset. It is a tradition that newly inaugurated Swiss Presidents make their first state visits abroad in Austria. Berset also met with Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, and many more Austrian politicians.

January 16, 2023

Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International Gets Under Pressure Due to Russo-Ukrainian War

Its involvement in Russia keeps Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) and its managers, led by Johann Strobl, very busy. The subsidiary institution in Moscow is RBI's biggest profit earner and almost the entire RBI board is on the Ukrainians' "awaiting sanctions" list. Whether RBI will stay in Russia and how to proceed is still unclear, as the banking group is in a tricky situation.

January 9, 2023

Ukrainians Want Raiffeisen Bankers Sanctioned

Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International is coming under pressure in Ukraine. RBI CEO Johann Strobl and another manager are on a list drawn up by Ukrainian authorities, according to which sanctions are recommended.

January 8, 2023

Russian Permanent Representative to UN in Vienna Says Soon Agreement with IAEA on Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant

At Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control, there have again been several powerful explosions, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. An agreement on a protection zone is being fiercely discussed but has yet to be reached. The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation and Moscow expect significant progress in this direction.

December 22, 2022
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