Putin’s controversial state visit to Austria

Putin's controversial state visit to Austria
President Fischer receiving President Putin. Photo: APA/Jäger
Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to be received with military honours by his Austrian host, President Heinz Fischer on Tuesday afternoon.

President Putin's visit to Austria was highly controversial both within Austria and internationally. Around 200 people gathered outside the presidential Hofburg in central Vienna to protest against the Russian president's visit.

Ahead of the visit, Swiss federal President and current head of the Vienna-based OSCE, Didier Burkhalter, called on Russia to take concrete steps towards solving the Ukraine crisis. Burkhalter was due to meet with President Vladimir Putin in Vienna on Tuesday afternoon.

Putin had supported a ceasefire with words, said Didier, but now a solution was needed.

On Tuesday morning, Putin revoked consent for possible military action in Ukraine, according to international agencies. This was supposed to help ease the situation, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov according to Interfax.

The Russian president was also due to meet with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann during his six-hour visit.

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