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Austrian leader's anti-Russian rhetoric doesn't represent how citizens feel about Russia

Russian Ambassador to Vienna Dmitry Lyubinsky emphasized that such statements were undermining the foundations of interstate relations between countries

VIENNA, February 22. /TASS/. Anti-Russian statements by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, who blamed Moscow for the death of Alexey Navalny, do not reflect how ordinary Austrians think, Russian Ambassador to Vienna Dmitry Lyubinsky said in his welcoming remarks at a ceremony on the occasion of Fatherland Defender's Day.

"The coming days will mark the 100th anniversary of the restoration of consular (February 25, 1924) and diplomatic (February 29, 1924) relations between Russia (represented by the then very young Soviet Union) and Austria. In other conditions, this would undoubtedly have been a landmark event in our bilateral relations. In modern realities there are no more occasions for joint celebrations, but we will not dwell on this. Today, well-known representatives of the Austrian leadership, short-sightedly forgetting the lessons of history, are undermining the foundations of interstate relations between our countries. And in the most recent days, they have been making absolutely unacceptable assessments and statements verging on interference in our internal affairs," the Russian ambassador emphasized.

"This is a road to nowhere. <...> We do not want and will not identify individual political figures, especially in the conditions of the approaching parliamentary elections, with the attitude of the Austrian people to Russia," Lubinsky noted.

Earlier, Van der Bellen in a message on his X page put the responsibility for the death of Alexey Navalny on Vladimir Putin and the country's leadership. Later, the Russian Embassy in Austria protested to the Austrian Foreign Ministry in connection with the statements of the country's president.

The Federal Penitentiary Service’s Directorate for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region said on February 16 that Navalny had died in a penal colony. According to the penitentiary authority, Navalny felt sick after a walk and fainted.

Medics arrived immediately but their more than 30-minute resuscitation efforts failed. Meanwhile, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed the West’s statements concerning Navalny’s death as rabid and totally inadmissible, bearing in mind that there is no official information about the cause of his death.