Austrian chancellor meets Putin in Moscow

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Vladimir Putin, Russia, Ukraine

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer says his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow was “very direct, open and tough”.

In a statement released by his office after the meeting on Monday, Mr Nehammer said his primary message to Mr Putin was “that this war needs to end, because in war both sides can only lose”.

Mr Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin in Moscow since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.

The Austrian leader stressed that the trip was “not a friendly visit,” but rather his “duty” to exhaust every possibility for ending the violence in Ukraine.

Mr Nehammer’s Moscow visit comes after a trip on Saturday to Kyiv, where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In his conversation with Mr Putin, Nehammer said he raised the issue of “serious war crimes” committed by the Russian military in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and others. “All those who are responsible will be held to account,” he added.

Austria is a member of the European Union and has backed the 27-nation bloc’s sanctions against Russia, though it so far has opposed cutting off deliveries of Russian gas. The country is militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO.

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