NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA via Getty Images
AUSTRIA – Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the first European leader to be received by Vladimir Putin from the beginning of intervention in UkraineHe said this Monday, April 11, “pessimistic” in the face of the “logic of war” of the Russian president.
“If you ask me now if I am optimistic or pessimistic, then I am rather pessimistic,” Karl Nehammer told reporters after the meeting.
“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, “he added.
“There is little interest on the Russian side for a direct meeting” with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyaccording to the Chancellor.
However, Vladimir Putin “reiterated his confidence” in the talks in Turkey. The last session was held on March 29 in Istanbul.
In addition, Karl Nehammer defended his “one-on-one” meeting in Russia by stressing “the importance of having a personal contact to confront the president with the realities of the war and directly convey the point of the Europeans.”
In a statement, he earlier described the hour-long discussion with Vladimir Putin as “frank, open and difficult.”
“I spoke about the serious war crimes in Boutcha and other places and said that all those responsible must be brought to justice,” the Austrian chancellor said.
An interview at the residence of the Russian president near Moscow
Boutcha is a town near kyiv that has become a symbol of atrocities, where Karl Nehammer went this weekend along with other Western officials. Moscow has firmly rejected any involvement.
“I made it clear to the Russian president the urgency of establishing humanitarian corridors to transport water and food and to evacuate women, children and the wounded from the besieged towns,” the foreign minister stressed.
The meeting took place at the Russian President’s residence Novo-Ogaryovo, near Moscow.
No image of the meeting has been leaked, which, according to the Austrian press, did not end with a handshake. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, this format behind closed doors was chosen at the initiative of the Austrian side.
Karl Nehammer says in particular that he “informed” the Chancellor German Olaf Scholz “of the content of the exchange”.
The conservative Austrian chancellor went to Moscow on his own initiative after visiting Ukraine. He “does not have a European mandate,” his foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, said on Monday.
His move was decided after talks in kyiv on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and discussions with Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as the heads of the European institutions Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.
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