20:09 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Heinz-Christian Strache head of Austria's Freedom Party (File)

    Moscow on Austrian Video Scandal: Enemies Produce Fake News to Smear Russia

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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - Enemies of Russia produce fake news and use other "untidy" methods to create an impression that Russia meddles in other countries' affairs, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said, commenting on the scandal around a video that showed the Austrian vice-chancellor promising public contracts to a woman posing as a Russian heiress.

    "Clearly, our enemies try to make up fake news in order to show that Russia is allegedly meddling in something. They are using the untidiest methods", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters.

    The statement comes after FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache, whose party has been supporting the lifting of Russia sanctions and the normalisation of relations with Moscow, was forced to resign from the posts of vice-chancellor and FPO leader amid a recent scandal with an alleged Russian heiress that sparked a major political scandal in Austria.

    Strache has qualified the situation as a "political murder" and added that the woman was a Russian-speaking Latvian citizen.

    Reacting on the matter, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated that a thorough investigation must be conducted in order to find the organisers of the recording of the scandalous video. Kurz has also refused to maintain government coalition with the FPO and has announced that snap parliamentary elections will be held.

    READ MORE: Video Scandal in Austria Caused Great Damage to Political Culture — German FM

    On 17 May, just over a week before the European Parliament elections, German Der Spiegel and Suddeutsche Zeitung newspapers reported, citing a video recording that they had obtained, that in 2017, former FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache discussed the possibility of acquisition of the Kronen Zeitung newspaper by an alleged niece of a "Russian oligarch" in order to secure help in the coming parliamentary elections. The outlets claimed that deals worth millions of euros had also been discussed at the meeting in Spain, including access to government contracts.


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    fake news, scandal, Austrian People's Party (OVP), Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Heinz-Christian Strache, Russia, Austria
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