05:57 GMT +311 December 2018
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, left, during a meeting

    Kurz on Spy Scandal: Vienna Aimed at Dialogue With Russia, This Will Not Change

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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - Vienna is aimed at dialogue with Russia, this will not change, but suspicions of spying against Austria will always be addressed properly, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

    "We are a country that has good contacts with Russia, we are aimed at dialogue, it will not change in the future. But when we have suspicions of espionage, we will always clearly criticize and prevent this," Kurz told reporters.

    He said the spying scandal involving a retired Austrian colonel would not improve the EU-Russia relations, but added that peace in Europe was only possible with Russia.

    The Austrian Chancellor has noted that there were no plans to send out Russian diplomats over suspected spying for Russia by a retired officer.

    "EU-Russia ties are regularly discussed at EU meetings and this debate belongs there. Austria will not take any unilateral steps in this regard," he told reporters.

    READ MORE: Austria Suspects Domestic Intelligence Officer Spied for Russia — Report

    The scandal erupted on November 9, when Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated that an army officer had been detained on suspicion of leaking military secrets to Russia between 1992 and 2018 demanding that the Russian side provide "transparent" information on the matter. The reports "unpleasantly surprised" Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said the accusations had been unfounded. In turn, his Austrian counterpart, Karin Kneissl, cancelled her planned visit to Russia.

    Reacting to the situation, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen asked to not dramatize the events and said that the incident would not jeopardize relations with Moscow in the long run.

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    spy scandal, relations, Sebastian Kurz, Russia, Austria
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