Austrian Ministry of Justice confirmed last Thursday that Vozhzhov had
been freed earlier in the day. Following his release Vozhzhov went to
the Russian Embassy in Vienna. A spokesperson for the Embassy announced
that he would leave for Moscow “in the near future”.
immediate release. It also made it clear that his arrest would damage
relations between the two countries. “The behaviour of the Austrian
side is seen as an unfriendly act,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs said. The Austrian Ambassador in Moscow Martin Vukovich was
summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hear Russia’s protest.
Foreign Ministry investigated whether the official did in fact enjoy
the diplomatic immunity that Russia asserted on his behalf. The UN
subsequently confirmed that Vozhzhov enjoyed diplomatic immunity
because he was accredited to the Russian delegation to the 50th session
of the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna
between 6 and 15 June. When Moscow formally turned down a request from
Austria to waive his diplomatic immunity last Wednesday, Austria had no
option but to release him.
diplomatic immunity for the duration of the conference on the whole
territory of Austria. This opinion appears to conflict with the
provisions of a treaty between the UN and Austria that participants in
conferences at UN facilities in Austria have immunity during their
journey there and back and whilst performing their functions. Vienna
has informed the UN that Vozhzhov is no longer welcome to attend
meetings at the UN’s facilities in Vienna.
3rd Air Regiment stationed in Hörsching near Linz has also been
arrested in connection with the case. He is reported to be technician
who works closely with civilian firms in Germany. He is alleged to have
supplied the Russians with data on the electronic development of the
Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter project.
was one of the top agents of the Russian military intelligence
organisation the GRU. Both Vozhzhov and Harald S. are thought to have
been shadowed by counter-intelligence agents for several months before