Austrian chancellor says trip to see Putin was ‘not a friendly visit’
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer held what he said were “direct, open and tough” talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday.
The meeting, which according to Reuters lasted about 75 minutes, was Putin’s first face-to-face talks with an EU leader since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
“This is not a friendly visit,” Nehammer said, according to a statement from his office shortly after the meeting at Putin’s official residence just outside Moscow, adding that he had brought up the issue of war crimes by Russian forces.
Later, in a press conference, the Austrian chancellor said he “did not have an optimistic outlook” about the situation in Ukraine, local media reported.
Nehammer, who was sworn in as chancellor four months ago, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday.
Austria is one of six EU countries that are not members of NATO and is officially non-aligned militarily — a fact Nehammer highlighted in a tweet confirming the visit.