Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who met Vladimir Putin, comes out as ‘rather pessimistic’

AUSTRIA – Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the first European leader to be received by Vladimir Poutine since the beginning of intervention in Ukrainesaid Monday, April 11, “pessimistic” about the Russian president’s “war logic”.

“If you ask me now whether I am optimistic or pessimistic, I am quite pessimistic,” Karl Nehammer told reporters after the meeting.

“There should be no illusions. President Putin has entered a war logic en masse and he is acting accordingly” in hopes of achieving “quick military success,” he added.

“There is little interest on the Russian side in a direct meeting” with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskysaid the chancellor.

Vladimir Putin has nevertheless “reiterated his confidence” in the talks in Turkey. The last session took place on March 29 in Istanbul.

In addition, Karl Nehammer defended his “one-on-one” meeting in Russia and underlined “the importance of a personal contact to confront the president with the reality of the war and to get the Europeans’ point across directly”.

In a statement, he previously described the more than an hour-long discussion with Vladimir Putin as “candid, open and difficult”.

“I spoke about the serious war crimes in Boutcha and other places and said that all those responsible should be brought to justice,” the Austrian chancellor said.

An interview at the Russian president’s residence near Moscow

Boutcha is a place near Kiev 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 have made it clear to the Russian president that there is an urgent need to establish humanitarian corridors to transport water and food and to evacuate women, children and the wounded from besieged cities,” the chancellor stressed.

The meeting took place at the residence of Russian President Novo-Ogaryovo, near Moscow.

No image of the meeting was filtered that, according to the Austrian press, did not lead to a handshake. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, this closed-door format was chosen at the initiative of the Austrian side.

In particular, Karl Nehammer says he “informed” the chancellor German Olaf Scholz “of the content of the exchange”.

The Austrian conservative chancellor went to Moscow on his own initiative after a visit to Ukraine. He “has no European mandate,” his foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg said earlier on Monday.

His move was decided after talks in Kiev on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and talks with Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as heads of European institutions Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

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