Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer announced that he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday as a part of efforts to raise the issue of war crimes between Russia and Ukraine.
Nehammer will be the first European leader to meet Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
“I’m going to meet Vladimir #Putin in Moscow tomorrow. We are militarily neutral, but [have] a clear position on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. He has to stop! It needs humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire & full investigation of war crimes,” Nehammer said in a tweet.
Nehammer said that he had informed other European leaders about his visit to Moscow, including the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Nehammer also met Zelensky in Kyiv last Saturday.
Western leaders have avoided Putin since the start of the Russian attacks in February, though he met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Kremlin in early March.
Nehammer said that aimed to act as a ‘bridge-builder’ between Russia and Ukraine and ‘do everything possible to make (the war) stop’ and ‘ensure that steps are taken in the direction of peace’.
Austria is officially neutral and has often sought to portray itself as a mediator between Russian and European strategic interests.
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