Russia: Austrian Chancellor confronts Putin over war crimes
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Vladimir Putin has been informed in person about the “massive loss of the Russian army” in its war with Ukraine. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who met with Vladimir Putin this past week in Moscow, told NBC News that “it was not a friendly conversation”. Mr Nehammer became the first European leader to meet with President Putin in person since the invasion began.
He told NBC’s Meet the Press that he went to Russia “to confront President Putin” with what he saw in Ukraine.
Chancellor Nehammer had visited Bucha, the site of a disturbing massacre after a Russian retreat, just days before travelling to Russia.
More than 350 bodies were found as well as with evidence of killings and torture under Russian occupation.
The Austrian leader said: “I told him what I saw. I saw the war crimes.
“I saw the massive loss of the Russian army.”
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He continued: “And I told him that there is a need for humanitarian corridors for cities like Mariupol or Kharkiv, for example.
“Civilians need water and we need to take care of the wounded there.”
When asked about President Putin’s response, Mr Nehammer said: “He told me he will cooperate with an international investigation, on the one hand.
“And on the other hand, he told me that he doesn’t trust the Western world. This will be the problem now in the future.”
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Later in the interview, he revealed that President Putin believes he is winning the war, noting that the Russian leader was “in his own war logic” on Ukraine.
The Austrian leader added: “We have to look in his eyes and we have to confront him with that, what we see in Ukraine.”
He echoed recent concerns from the CIA director that President Putin could turn to nuclear weapons to get his way in Ukraine.
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Chancellor Nehammer said: “He knows that he has this weapon. And he knows the threat of this weapon. So I don’t know if he’d really use it.”
The latest UK government intelligence briefing today said Russia “plans to renew its offensive activity throughout the east of the country”.
This comes as Russia issued a deadline today for Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms in Mariupol, which has been under siege for weeks.
Earlier, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said killing Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol would put an end to any peace talks.
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