Austrian police reprimanded over Russian gifts – AP — RT World News

Officers guarding the Russian embassy during the presidential election were reportedly given calendars and chocolates

Vienna police officers who provided security around the Russian embassy during the country's presidential election and were given small gifts have been asked to decline such gifts in the future, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing the city's police department.

The presidential elections in Russia were held from 15 to 17 March. Russians living abroad had the opportunity to cast their votes at Russian embassies and consulates in several European cities on March 17.

According to the AP, Vienna police officers deployed to protect the embassy that day were reported to have been in contact with embassy staff and occasionally entered the building. Local media quoted an officer as saying that police entered and left the building to use the toilets.

After voting ended, many officers were seen leaving with gift bags bearing the Russian logo. The paper bags contain low-value items such as calendars and boxes of chocolates, the Associated Press wrote.

The Vienna Police Department clarified to the AP in an email that receiving gifts from Russians does not constitute misconduct under the Service Act for Austrian civil servants.

However, it is “Leaves an undesirable impression that does not do justice to the professional approach of the officers at the scene.” Section added. This was said to have been pointed out to the officers and they were instructed to do so “Friendly but firmly decline such compliments in the future, even if they are of low value.”

According to media reports, small souvenirs depicting the election campaign such as calendars and key chains were also distributed at Russian polling stations, especially to those who cast their votes for the first time.

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