Visiting Moscow, Austrian Chancellor talks about “difficult” discussion with Putin

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Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was received by Vladimir Putin on Monday 11 April. This is a first for a European leader since the start of the intervention in Ukraine, according to a press release issued by his cabinet after the meeting.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he was “rather pessimistic” after his meeting with Vladimir Putin, who wants to record a “military success” in Ukraine. “We shouldn’t have any illusions (…). President Putin has massively entered into a logic of war and he is acting accordingly,” he declared to journalists at the end of his visit.

The discussion with President Putin was frank, open and difficult.e,” said Karl Nehammer after this interview which lasted a little over an hour and did not give rise to a handshake, according to the Austrian press. ” I spoke about the serious war crimes in Boutcha and other places, saying that all those responsible must be brought to justice added the Austrian Chancellor.

Boutcha, a locality near kyiv, has become a symbol of atrocities. Karl Nehammer visited this weekend like other Western officials. Moscow has firmly rejected any involvement. ” I made clear to the Russian President the urgency of setting up humanitarian corridors to bring water and food and evacuate women, children and the wounded from besieged cities “, underlined the chancellor, insisting on the fact that it was not a question” not a friendly visit “.

The interview took place in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow. No image has filtered from the meeting and no joint press conference is planned. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, this closed-door format was chosen at the initiative of the Austrian side.

Visit after Ukraine

Karl Nehammer says he now wants to meet with his European counterparts to inform them of this meeting and discuss the next steps, while the European Union (EU) is currently preparing new sanctions. The Austrian conservative chancellor went to Moscow on his own initiative after visiting Ukraine. He ” does not have a European mandate “, had specified earlier Monday its Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg.

Karl Nehammer was to explain to Vladimir Putin that he ” isolates Russia, that he’s going to lose this war morally, and that he’s doing all the wrong things “, reported the head of diplomacy. ” Any voice that makes President Putin understand what the reality is like outside the Kremlin walls is not a lost voice “, he estimated, while acknowledging that “ no one expects a miracle “.

The chancellor’s move was decided after talks in Kyiv on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as heads of EU institutions Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel .

(With AFP)

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