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Austrian colonel detained on charges of spying for Russia

A retired officer from the Austrian army had been reportedly spying against his country's military and transferring documents to Russia since the 1990s

VIENNA, October 9. /TASS/. Austrian intelligence services detained an Austrian colonel on Thursday, who had allegedly been spying for Russia for 20 years, newspaper Kronen Zeitung reported on Friday, citing the country's Ministry of Defense.

Information emerged that an investigation is being carried out against a 70-year-old retired colonel who has allegedly passed information about the migration crisis, Austrian military aircraft and artillery systems to Russian military intelligence services since the late 1990s. According to the newspaper, the colonel from Salzburg received about 300,000 euros for his services. "We are very glad that we managed to identify the suspect," the Austrian Ministry of Defense stated.

The report says that the Austrian contacted an agent from the Russian intelligence services, known as "Yuri," once every two weeks and gave him classified papers. The Austrian Army Counterintelligence Service noted that it became possible to derail the colonel’s spying after the Russian intelligence services had transmitted him a signal saying that the Austrian side had unmasked him. Austrian prosecutors launched a criminal case against the retired military officer under a statute about working for foreign military intelligence services. The suspect may face two years behind bars under this item.

Austrian Minister of Defense Mario Kunasek is going to summon the Russian military attache in Austria over the case of the retired Austrian colonel suspected of allegedly spying for Russia, Kronen Zeitung reported, citing the country’s defense ministry.

"Spying against a neutral country is unacceptable," Kunasek stated. He said he would summon the Russian military attache today to the Austrian Ministry of Defense.

The Russian Embassy in Austria did not comment on the reports of the colonel’s detention and the summoning of the Russian military attache to the Austrian Ministry of Defense.