- The Russian diplomat is accused of espionage by the Austrian Authorities.
- Last week Russian diplomat was expelled from Norway.
- The leader of the Russian opposition was poisoned.
Austria issued a removal order for a Russian diplomat. The order gives the Russian diplomat one week to leave the country. The Russian Embassy in Austria did not make an official statement pertaining to the current situation. An official did say the situation is just a misunderstanding.
That’s according to the First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council International Affairs Committee, Vladimir Jabarov. The Kremlin believes that Russia and Austria have a great relationship. Austria always has been a neutral nation.
It should be noted that Austria is one of the six nations on the European continent that is not a member of NATO. That is why it is much more simpler for the nation to maintain its neutrality, and even have certain bilateral agreements with Russia. At present, Moscow has not decided if in retaliation, an Austrian diplomat would be expelled.
Furthermore, it is not the first incident of such nature within a week. Last week, the Norwegian Security Service made a public statement pertaining to the arrest of a 50 year-old Norwegian citizen.
The individual was detained on August 15h. He is charged with transmitting information to a foreign state that “may harm the fundamental interests of Norway.” Such charges of treason include up to a 15-year prison sentence.
According to the released information by the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, the individual has been meeting with a Russian Intelligence officer to transfer information containing state secrets on multiple occasions. The diplomat, who is an alleged Russian Intelligence officer was declared persona non grata, and was immediately expelled from Norway.
The Russian diplomat is identified as Alexander Stekolshikov. He held a post of the Deputy Trade Representative in Oslo. The expelled diplomat has not made any public statements. It is not a common practice to do so. Hence, Norway should not be surprised with the lack of comments from the Russian Embassy.
Moreover, the Norwegian citizen, who is been charged with espionage worked at the DNV GL company. The unidentified Norwegian worked in the oil and gas production and shipbuilding. He had long standing ties with Russia pertaining to the oil and gas market segment. It is highly likely that the Kremlin will expel one of the Norwegian diplomats in retaliation.
This week Russia only confirmed the incident occurred. However, the confirmation is only specifically to the expelling of the diplomat. Russia denies the diplomat’s involvement in the espionage. The Kremlin believes it is an anti-russian movement meant to negatively impact Russia on the world stage.
The timing of the expulsion coincides with the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny on Wednesday. He is currently in the German Charite Clinic. On Monday, Charite representatives made a statement that in fact Navalny was poisoned. The substance used has neurological long term effects. Further tests are needed to determine the substance.
After this information, the Navlany live TV head commentator, who himself is a convicted felon in Russia, made a sensationalist statement claiming it must be “Novichok.” The substance made international headlines when Sergei Skripal was poisoned in the UK.
Nevertheless, the symptoms are not the same, as of Navalny. Unfortunately, Navalny has been a bore for some time. Therefore, his camp is trying to monetize this situation with further sensationalist and scandalist headlines, whilst also immediately looking for donations on youtube for their “honest and independent” news delivery.
Overall, the incidents are allegations at this time. However, it is not new for the under the guise of diplomatic work to engage in the intelligence activities.