( Itar-Tass ) - Russia will not strip its Federal Space Agency official detained in Austria last week on suspicions of espionage of diplomatic immunity.
Russian Ambassador to Austria Stanislav Osadchy said Austrian authorities' actions with regard to the Russian citizen are "unfounded and unlawful".
He expressed hope that the official would be released on Thursday.
Gerhard Jarosch, a spokesman for the Austrian public prosecutor's office, told Itar-Tass that the Justice Ministry has an expert's confirmation of the official's diplomatic immunity.
If Moscow refuses to lift it, the official will be released immediately, he said.
However Moscow has demanded an immediate release of its citizen.
"There are no grounds for his detention. We maintain contact with the Austrian side to secure his immediate release," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
The detainee was a member of the Russian official delegation that was taking part in the 50th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna.
According to local police, he was detained in the town of Gmunden, Upper Austria, last Monday, when trying to get secret information from an Austrian serviceman. He was taken to a preliminary detention cell.
He has been moved to Vienna to wait for a court ruling that may extend his preliminary detention.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Foreign Ministry plans to ask Moscow to strip its citizen of diplomatic immunity.
The Foreign Ministry claims Austria has very serious charges to make against the detained Russian.
The Russian Foreign Ministry responded by saying, "This step by the Austrian side is regarded as an unfriendly one and harming bilateral relations. ... In that connection it is quite obvious that this incident by no means contributes to Austria's reputation as the host country of a number of organizations within the United Nations system."
The Russian Foreign Ministry argues that the Austrian authorities have abused the 1946 convention on the privileges and immunities of the United Nations, which, among other things, stipulates that officials present at United Nations events as members of their countries' delegations enjoy immunity from detention or arrest.
Austria's ambassador in Moscow, Martin Vukovic, has been invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he was notified of Russia's strong protest against the arrest of its citizen in Austria on far-fetched charges.