Austria's neutral status here to stay, Foreign Minister says

Alexander Schallenberg, Foreign Minister of Austria

© APA | Alexander Schallenberg, Foreign Minister of Austria

# 18 May 2022 13:30 (UTC +04:00)

The foreign minister of Austria said his country would retain its neutral status even as EU allies Sweden and Finland overhauled decades-long foreign policy stances to apply for NATO membership in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, APA reports citing Reuters.

"The situation for us looks a little different," Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday, pointing to "overwhelming" public support for neutrality in Austria.

Schallenberg said that the country, which obtains 80% of its natural gas from Russia, would continue to provide humanitarian support to Ukraine rather than lethal weapons.

"We are helping on a large scale but not with war munition, and I think help for Ukraine cannot only be reduced to war munition," he told the broadcaster.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has prompted a redrawing of national security policy in many European nations.