Russia no longer sees Vienna as venue for talks — diplomat

Russia no longer sees Vienna as venue for talks — diplomat
# 14 February 2024 03:27 (UTC +04:00)

Russia no longer sees Vienna as a potential venue for talks since Austria’s neutral status has been marred, Russian Ambassador in Vienna Dmitry Lyubinsky said, APA reports citing TASS.

"In a jiffy, extensive trade and economic ties and more than half a century of partnership in the energy sector have suddenly become ‘toxic’, while Russian gas has turned from a pillar of Austrian prosperity into an ‘oppressive dependence’," the ambassador said at a meeting of the Russian society of friendship with Austria.

"All this is happening against the backdrop of supposed permanent neutrality going by the wayside, something fundamental to Austrian statehood, and which local politicians are short-sightedly trying to interpret as only military. The Vienna negotiating venue has lost its relevance for us," the Telegram channel of the Russian Embassy quoted Lyubinsky as saying.

Today, Austria's non-aligned status is enshrined in a separate constitutional law. It was adopted by the Austrian parliament in 1955 in order to state the country’s independence and ensure the inviolability of its territory after World War II. The text of the law reads that Austria will preserve and defend its neutrality by all available means, will never join any military alliances in the future and will not host foreign military bases. The declaration of neutrality became possible after the Allies withdrew their troops from Austrian territory in 1955.

The Austrian authorities do not supply arms to Ukraine because of the country's neutral status.

At the same time, representatives of the Austrian leadership have repeatedly said that "politically Vienna cannot be neutral" in the Ukrainian conflict and takes Kiev's side. The government also approved the republic's participation in the European Sky Shield air and missile defense system. The opposition Freedom Party of Austria says this not only violates the country's neutral status, but in fact makes it a NATO member.

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