01:13 GMT +314 December 2018
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    President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen

    New Info on Russia’s Alleged Espionage to Emerge in Weeks - Austrian President

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    VIENNA (Sputnik) – New information in the case of Austria's ex-colonel suspected of spying in favor of Russia may emerge in few weeks, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said.

    Noting that the investigation is ongoing on what kind of information was allegedly passed over to Russia and whether the data was sensitive, Van der Bellen said in an interview with the Austrian ORF broadcaster late on Monday that “perhaps, in a few week we will find out.”

    The president underlined that he was surprised at how public the Austrian Cabinet had went with the allegations.

    At the same time, the Austrian president noted that he has not discussed the case with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Peace Forum in Paris on Sunday.

    “Minister Lavrov was also in Paris… We briefly greeted each other. Neither he nor I have touched this upon,” Van der Bellen added.

    Austrian President also said that ex-colonel's case would not jeopardize the relations with Moscow in the long run.

    “This will not seriously shadow our relations with the Russian government for a long time,” Van der Bellen said late on Monday in an interview with the Austrian ORF broadcaster.

    The president went on to say that espionage is unacceptable, but at the same time all special services are trying to obtain information via various methods, including the illegal ones.

    On Friday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz confirmed that a retired Austrian colonel was suspected of espionage for Moscow and demanded that the Russian side provided "transparent" information on the matter.

    Moscow in response expressed protest to Austrian Ambassador to Russia Johannes Aigner over the accusations. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Vienna's steps were based on suspicions without evidence, adding that Austria's statements over the spy scandal had already complicated bilateral relations.

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