Austrian leader holds 'open and tough' talks with Putin in Moscow


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Austrian leader holds 'open and tough' talks with Putin in Moscow
Nehammer is the first European Union leader to meet Putin since he ordered his troops to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Published: APRIL 11, 2022

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer held "very direct, open and tough" talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, in Putin's first meeting with a European Union leader since the invasion of Ukraine started more than six weeks ago. Neutral Austria, which obtains 80% of its natural gas from Russia, generally maintains closer ties to Moscow than much of the European Union but that has not been the case recently.

Nehammer has expressed solidarity with Ukraine and denounced apparent Russian war crimes, while his government has joined other EU countries in expelling Russian diplomats, albeit only a fraction of the large Russian diplomatic presence there. "This is not a friendly visit," Nehammer was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office shortly after the meeting at Putin's official Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. A Nehammer spokesman said the meeting lasted 75 minutes, which is relatively short by Putin's standards.