Ukrainian diplomats involved in booze-linked Vienna car crash

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Ukrainian diplomatic personnel were involved in a traffic accident in Vienna, in which the driver attempted to flee the scene and refused to be tested for alcohol by police.

Austrian police said that a car crashed into a vehicle at a red stop light in central Vienna on Friday. Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung cited sources as saying the car that caused the accident was driven by “high-ranking diplomats from the Ukrainian embassy,” crashing “at full speed” into a vehicle with four German tourists.

The driver then tried to escape, but after a chase, was stopped by police, who reportedly had their guns drawn.

The driver declined to take a breathalyzer test, while one of the two passengers tested positive for alcohol. However, police cited witnesses as saying that the driver had swapped places with the passenger after the crash.

Police said that one passenger in the car they stopped was slightly injured, as were the four people in the second car that was involved in the incident.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Saturday that the ministry is working to determine the circumstances of the traffic accident in the Austrian capital and cooperating with police on the matter.

“The position of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine is clear: the diplomatic status doesn’t give the personnel of Ukrainian diplomatic missions the right to violate traffic rules and endanger others,” Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

Diplomats stationed abroad are typically immune from criminal prosecution unless their immunity is lifted by their home countries.

The spokesman said that decisions regarding “the participant of the traffic accident” will be made after an inquiry.

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