“This is not a friendly visit. I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression,” Nehammer was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office after the meeting outside Moscow.
Nehammer is the first European leader to meet with Putin face-to-face since his invasion of Ukraine. His visit divided opinion among EU leaders, with some expressing skepticism about engaging with the Russian leader.
The pair spoke for about 75 minutes at Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow, Nehammer’s spokesperson said, in talks the Austrian leader described as “very direct, open and tough.”
Before visiting Russia
, Nehammer met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and visited the town of Bucha
, where bodies of unarmed civilians were found strewn across public streets after a month of Russian occupation
”I addressed the serious war crimes in Bucha and other places and emphasized that all those responsible for them must be held accountable,” Nehammer said, volgens die verklaring. “I also told President Putin in no uncertain terms that sanctions against Russia will remain in place and will continue to be tightened as long as people are dying in Ukraine.”
Austria is militarily neutral but its government has joined its neighbors in condemning Putin’s invasion.
Nehammer cited “a sense of responsibility to leave no stone unturned” as a reason for seeking the meeting with Putin. Ahead of their talks, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister cast doubt on their effectiveness, saying of the Russian leader: “I personally have no reason to believe that he’s talkable.”
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavsky also urged Nehammer to be wary. “Don’t be naive. Putin is a perpetrator of this horrendous war crime and those atrocities, and he should be punished for that,” hy het gesê.
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