Austria – The Russian president Vladimir Putin made a short visit to the Austrian capital this Tuesday where he had a conversation with the Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen, then with the chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) as well as with the vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (FPÖ).
Vienna – Accompanied of several ministers and governors as well as the president of the Russian bank VTB, the Russian president Vladimir Putin was first welcomed at the Hofburg where the Russian delegation met an Austrian delegation also composed of ministers as well as the governors of Vienna, Lower-Austria and Burgenland. This reception was followed by a first face to face conversation with President Van der Bellen and afterwards a common press conference. And then the same procedere occurred again in the Chancellery, the building on the other side of the street, this time with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and then Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache as interlocutors.
As both countries traditionally maintain cordial ties, the conversations and meetings occurred within a serene and relaxed atmosphere. While President Van der Bellen mentioned the “Russian” origins of his family – Germans from Russia originating from the Netherlands – who emigrated in 1919 to Estonia and in 1940 to Germany, Chancellor Kurz and President Putin spoke about the sanctions of the European Union against Russia.
Sebastian Kurz who will head the European Council from 1st July, then expressed his hopes the so called sanctions to be “of course progressively lifted”.
Besides the summit, the Austrian energetic group OMV and the Russian gas company Gazprom renewed their agreements for the delivery of Russian gas to Austria and extended them from 2028 to 2040.
In the early evening, Mr. Putin finally met the minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl (FPÖ) on the Schwarzenberg square for a wreath-laying at the Red Army monument.