Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer is the primary European chief to maintain face-to-face conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the reason that invasion of Ukraine.
Nehammer tweeted that he could possibly be assembly with Putin on Monday, making it clear that Austria was militarily impartial, however added that an investigation into alleged battle crimes have to be performed. As the primary chief of the West to meet with Putin, Nehammer did so within the hope of bringing an finish to the invasion. This comes two days after touring to Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Nehammer described his dialog with Putin as “very direct, open and tough,” in accordance to Euro Information. Following the assembly, Nehammer mentioned that he was “rather pessimistic” in regards to the success of negotiations.
“There should be no illusions. President Putin has massively entered into a logic of war and is acting accordingly ‘in the hope of registering’ rapid military success,” Nehammer informed reporters Monday.
Regardless of mounting proof to the opposite, Russia has denied all battle crimes. Nehammer informed Putin that the results of focusing on civilians within the battle in opposition to Ukraine are to come.
“I spoke in regards to the critical battle crimes in Bucha and different locations and mentioned that every one these accountable have to be introduced to justice,” the Austrian chancellor mentioned.
Nehammer mentioned it was necessary to communicate with Putin in particular person to stress that the West’s sanctions in opposition to Russia would change into more durable because the battle continues.
“[Telling him] once will not be enough. Ten times will not be enough. It might have to be done 100 times but I think it is necessary to do everything to ensure there is peace again and people in Ukraine can live in safety,” Nehammer mentioned.
Nehammer additionally famous that there’s “very little interest on the Russian side in a direct meeting” with Ukraine’s president, however mentioned there could also be hope due to Putin’s continued curiosity within the Istanbul peace talks.
Nehammer has additionally been criticized by Austrian leaders for his go to with Putin.
A member of the Austrian Parliament, Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, mentioned she couldn’t agree with the go to.
“No, I cannot condone a visit to Putin,” Ernst-Dziedzic wrote on Twitter. “This has nothing to do with diplomacy. This is also not an agreed roadmap for negotiations. Putin will use this for his propaganda.”
Reinhard Heinisch, a professor of comparative Austrian politics on the College of Salzburg, wrote on Twitter, “Let’s hope there is more to the Austrian chancellor #Nehammer’s visit to Putin than has been said and meets the eye. Austria has all too often served the role of Moscow’s useful idiot in the past.”
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Federation and Nehammer for remark.