21:16 24 Mar 2024

100 Russian spies operating in Austria with diplomatic cover – VSquare

In Austria, at least 100 of the 250-300 diplomats of the Russian Federation may be employees of the Russian special services working in the country under diplomatic cover.

Hungarian investigative journalist Sabolch Panyi writes about this on the investigative journalism platform VSquare, referring to the statement of the head of intelligence of one of the Central European countries.

"At the beginning of March, the head of the intelligence of one of the Central European countries told the government officials at a closed meeting that approximately 100 of the 250-300 Russian diplomatic employees who are in Austria are suspected of being undercover agents and working for the Russian special services – Foreign Intelligence Service, Federal Security Service, and Main Directorate of the General," the article says.

As Panyi notes, this information was also "confirmed to him by numerous government officials and security experts, some of whom have connections with the intelligence agencies of their countries."

An Austrian government official told the journalist that, according to their calculations, there are at least 252 Russian diplomatic employees – diplomats plus technical and administrative staff – working in the Russian embassy in Vienna, the permanent missions of the Russian Federation to the OSCE and the UN, as well as in the disarmament mission.

At the same time, this number does not include teachers of Russian schools in Austria, who also enjoy a certain level of diplomatic immunity. In addition, there are wives of diplomats who also enjoy diplomatic immunity.

"According to a government official of one of the Central European countries, after the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats in recent years, Russian intelligence is increasingly entrusting these Russian teachers, as well as the remaining family members of the diplomats, with collecting intelligence information," the article says.

It noted that the real problem with the large number of Russian spies under diplomatic cover in Vienna is that "many of them are there officially, but in reality, they are spying against neighboring countries." In particular, the investigative journalist points out that, for example, "Slovakia knows that some of the Russian diplomats in Austria travel to work in their country to spy."

"This is also the reason why Czech diplomats are consistently trying to push their initiative to restrict the free movement of Russians within the Schengen area, which I also wrote about earlier. The main opponents of the Czech initiative remain Austria, Germany, and Italy. However, pressure is increasing on Austria to do something with the Russian espionage nest, which it still accepts," the journalist said.

He recalled that the Austrian government expelled two Russian diplomats in March for actions "incompatible with their diplomatic status." No details regarding the nature and purpose of their espionage activities have been officially released. At the same time, an Austrian government official told the investigator that "the espionage concerned Austria and other countries from the territory of Austria."

It should be noted that the Russian spy network continues to operate actively in European countries.

For reference:

As reported by Rubryka, at least 38 Russian diplomats who can spy undercover in the countries of Northern Europe were identified by journalists during the investigation.

In addition, the main intelligence department of the Ministry of Defense obtained a list of Russian Federal Security Service employees who participate in the criminal activities of the aggressor country on the territory of Europe.

However, the largest number of Russian spies in Europe is in Switzerland.


If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: