Moscow, – Russia reaffirmed its traditional warm ties with European Union member state Austria on Tuesday following an espionage incident that jolted relations a few months ago.
“Today’s meeting confirms the intensity of our political dialogue, including at the top level,’’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in 2018.
Lavrov disclosed this in opening comments to Kneissl, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry transcript.
Kneissl expressed confidence that Austria and Russia would continue to develop ties, particularly on an economic level, according to televised comments after the meeting.
“Regarding ties between our countries, the atmosphere today is wonderful,’’ Kneissl told reporters.
Austria is one of just a few EU member states that have maintained close relations with Russia over the past five years since Russia annexed neighbouring Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Putin danced with Kneissl at her wedding in August 2018.
Then in November, Austria announced that it had discovered a suspected Russian espionage operation involving an Austrian colonel, alleged to have passed secrets to Russian intelligence for decades.