Russia has an important diplomatic apparatus in Austria. However, four of the foreign representatives have to leave the Alpine Republic by Wednesday. For a long time, Vienna saw itself as a bridge builder to Moscow.
Austria has announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats, two of whom are accredited to the United Nations in Vienna. According to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the diplomats had committed "incompatible actions" with their status, without giving any further details on these "acts". The four Russians were given a deadline of Wednesday to leave the country.
Diplomatic expulsions are rare in Austria, which had maintained close ties with Moscow prior to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The country traditionally sees itself as a bridge builder between eastern and western countries. Unlike other EU countries, Vienna refused in 2018 to expel Russian diplomats after the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.
In April 2022, however, Austria expelled four Russian diplomats as part of a coordinated EU response to the alleged killings of Ukrainian civilians by Russian soldiers in Bucha, Ukraine. A Russian diplomat had previously been expelled in April 2020 on suspicion of espionage. Russia has an important diplomatic apparatus in Austria, both on a bilateral level and at the UN representations in Vienna.