President Vladimir Putin has proposed sending a Russian military contingent, including helicopters and other hardware, to join a UN peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan.
Putin made the proposal to send 200 Russian troops in response to a call from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The Russian soldiers would be placed under the command of the UN. More than 10,000 UN peacekeepers are being deployed to Sudan's south to monitor a peace deal signed last January.
The Russian proposal does not apply to the conflict in Darfur in western Sudan, where 6,000 troops from the African Union are stationed, the AP reports.
Austria does not intend to expel Russian diplomats because of the spy scandal