The Foreign Ministry of Austria Thursday announced its decision to expel four Russian diplomats from Vienna. Two of the affected Russian diplomats are stationed at the Russian Embassy while the other two are located at the United Nations Permanent Mission.In a brief statement, the Ministry concluded that the two Russian Embassy diplomats have engaged in “acts incompatible with their diplomatic status.” Therefore, they are declared personae non gratae under Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Personae non gratae means that the foreign diplomats are not welcome in the host country and their protection of diplomatic immunity from arrest and other types of prosecution is removed.Additionally, it concluded that the two diplomats of the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations have “committed acts incompatible with the Headquarters Agreement”.According to state-controlled media, Russia is considering retaliation against Austria’s decision. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov stated that “Unequivocally there will be a retaliation. It is being considered at the moment”. He stressed that Moscow regarded Vienna’s decision as “another unfriendly step.”The four Russian diplomats concerned have been asked to leave Austria by the end of 8 February 2023.
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