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A flag of Austria is seen in Warsaw, Poland on Sept. 13, 2022. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Austria had expelled two Russian diplomats over actions "incompatible with their diplomatic status," the Heute newspaper reported on March 13, citing the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

The Russian officials have been declared "personae non gratae" and have to leave the country at the latest on March 19. Russia's Foreign Ministry said it was "outraged" by what it called a "purely political" decision.

The move came shortly after the Falter newspaper reported on a dossier according to which 23 Russian diplomats have been engaged in intelligence activities in Austria.

The document claims that the Russian embassy officials maintained contacts with local parties and politicians to foster Russian influence in the country. According to the dossier, Austria's Former Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who currently lives in Russia, allegedly helped Moscow gain access to information from her ministry.

Russian diplomats were also said to spy on dissidents and opponents of Vladimir Putin's regime living in Austria.

Vienna has denounced Russian aggression against Ukraine and provided Kyiv with economic and humanitarian aid but refused to donate lethal military assistance due to its neutrality policy.

Austria also has close and long-standing economic ties with Russia. The Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International has not left Russia despite sanctions and is one of two foreign banks classified as "systemically important" by the Russian central bank.

The country expelled four Russian diplomats in February 2023, after which Russia expelled four Austria diplomats in retaliation. Four other Russian diplomats had to leave Austria in April 2022.

Reuters: Ukraine refuses to remove Austrian Raiffeisen bank from ‘sponsors of war’ list
Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has refused to remove Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank from the international sponsors of war list, citing the bank still not having a clear plan to leave the Russian market, Reuters reported on Feb. 15.
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