Former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who moved to live in Russia in the summer of 2023, brought her two ponies to the Leningrad region, The Insider reports. Earlier, the telegram channel Fighterbomber, which is close to the Russian Defense Ministry, wrote about sending the ponies to Russia.
“Comrades aviators who are now under loading in Artek are standing. There instead of a hero squad you want to load a pony. If today the country really needs ponies, then fly, of course, with ponies, but write me whose they are. Very interesting,” – said in the message of the channel, published on September 7. Two days later, Fighterbomber wrote that “important and secret ponies flew on a separate flight.”
On the same day, September 9, a post about the delivery of two ponies appeared on social networks of the “Tkachenko Alena Equestrian Club” located in the Leningrad region: “We met two adorable ponies from Pulkovo airport, they crossed six borders, the route started in Austria.”
The Insider specifies that, judging by the photos from Pulkovo, the ponies were delivered to the Leningrad region by an IL-76MD with the flight number RF-76762. This aircraft belongs to the 224 flight unit of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Later, the press service of the Veterinary Department of the Leningrad region reported that veterinary officers examined the two ponies brought by Kneissl. Specialists took blood samples and sent the animals to quarantine.
Karin Kneissl headed the Austrian Foreign Ministry from 2017 to 2019. She took this post on the quota of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, which in 2016 concluded an agreement on cooperation and collaboration with United Russia.
In 2018, Karin Kneissl danced with Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding.
In 2020, Kneissl became a member of Rosneft’s board of directors and held the post until May 2022, when she tendered her resignation amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
In July 2022, Kneissl told a reporter for The Washington Post that she had left Austria because of threats. For some time afterward, she lived in Lebanon. In June 2023, she told TASS that she was seriously considering moving to Russia.
In August, it became known that Kneissl rented a house in the village of Petrushovo in the Ryazan region. The former foreign minister told Vid Sidoku that she had been offered a job at the G.O.R.K.I. center at St. Petersburg State University. On the university’s website, she is listed as the head of the center. In September, Kneissl told TASS that she was moving to St. Petersburg.