Austrian Chancellor: Putin undeterred by sanctions
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said that the Russian President is intending to "resolve" the conflict in Donbass and is determined to defend Russia's security interests.
After he met with the Russian President on Monday, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer is persuaded that sanctions aren't reducing the Kremlin's commitment to resolving the Donbass conflict before stopping Ukraine's military effort.
He described his meeting with Putin as "direct, open, and hard," adding that it was not a visit of friendship.
TASS cited Nehammer telling reporters that Putin "confirmed that the sanctions are tough for Russia but the situation in Donbass, as he said, must be, so to say, resolved, despite the sanctions – even if they are quite tangible."
The Austrian leader warned Putin that sanctions would not be lifted so long as "people keep dying in Ukraine."
He added that he had “no optimistic impression" following his meeting with the President.
The meeting with Nehammer is the first for Putin with an EU leader since the war began in February.
The Austrian chancellor alleged that Russia is concocting a "massive scale" offensive operation in eastern Ukraine. He also disclosed he would be communicating with other European partners about the next steps.
Nehammer in Ukraine
Nehammer visited Ukraine on Saturday and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and the mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko. He also visited the town of Bucha, where Ukraine claims Russia committed a war crime against civilians, while Russia provided facts that showed its forces had left the town days earlier.
The Austrian chancellor pledged that the EU would continue to increase sanctions against Russia "until the war stops."
On Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukraine's accession to the European Union would be expedited.
Giving the Ukrainian President a questionnaire that forms a starting point for the membership decision, von der Leyen said, "It will not, as usual, be a matter of years to form this opinion but I think a matter of weeks." Zelensky has stated he would provide the response within a week.