A “tough” closed-door meeting between the President of Russia and the Prime Minister of Austria
Private talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Ukraine took place on the outskirts of Moscow on April 11. No press conference or joint statement was issued after the meeting at Putin’s official residence, and no photos or videos of the meeting were released.
Speaking before the meeting began, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders would discuss “the Ukraine situation” and did not rule out discussing the gas issue, according to the news agency. Interfax.
Closed talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Ukraine took place on the outskirts of Moscow on April 11. Photo: The Guardian
Prime Minister Nehammer is the first European Union (EU) leader to visit Russia after the country launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine at the end of February.
It was not a “friendship visit,” Nehammer said, adding that the two had “very direct, open and tough” conversations, adding that the conversation was mainly about the humanitarian aspect of Ukraine. .
Mr. Nehammer told the channel RT: “I came from Ukraine to Russia and witnessed with my own eyes the incalculable suffering caused by the Russian military campaign”. In addition, he also raised accusations of “war crimes” committed by the Russian military during the meeting. The Austrian chancellor stressed that “all those responsible for serious war crimes in the town of Bucha” (Ukraine) and elsewhere must be brought to justice.
Prime Minister Nehammer said he had told President Putin that anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU would remain in place and could even be strengthened if the conflict in Ukraine continued. “The EU is more united than ever on this issue,” Nehammer stressed during the 75-minute meeting.
Mr. Nehammer highly appreciated Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s readiness for direct dialogue with the Russian president. However, Putin did not mention this, an Austrian official told the newspaper The Guardian.
A day earlier, Mr. Nehammer had visited the capital Kiev and had a meeting with President Zelensky and other high-ranking Ukrainian officials.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that Finland will clarify the next steps on its decision to join NATO in the coming weeks. Photo: EPA
Meanwhile, the Russian side also warned Finland and Sweden not to join NATO, saying that this move would not bring stability to Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “the alliance (NATO) remains an instrument of confrontation”, warning that NATO “is not the kind of alliance that guarantees peace and stability, and the Further expansion will not bring more security to Europe.”
Moscow’s warning comes in the context of Finland and Sweden considering joining NATO, and the US is expected to support this move.
The prospect of Finland and Sweden joining NATO was part of discussions among foreign ministers of the military alliance in Brussels last week, according to a senior State Department official. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that Finland will clarify its next steps in the coming weeks.
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