Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said that he urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine and raised the issue of “serious war crimes” committed by the Russian military during talks in Moscow.
Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
In a statement released after the meeting on Monday, the Austrian chancellor said his primary message to Putin in the “very direct, open and tough” talks was that “this war needs to end, because in war both sides can only lose”.
Nehammer told Putin all those responsible for war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and elsewhere would be “held to account.”
He also stressed the need to open humanitarian corridors so that civilians trapped in cities under attack can access basic supplies like food and water, according to his statement.
The Austrian leader called the Moscow trip his “duty” to exhaust every possibility for ending the violence in Ukraine, coming just two days after he travelled to Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
European Union-member Austria supported the 27-nation bloc’s sanctions against Russia, though it so far has opposed cutting off deliveries of Russian gas. The country is militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO.