44 min agoAustria’s Nehammer says he visited Putin to look him in the eyes and confront himFrom CNN’s Adam Pourahmadi in Abu Dhabi
Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Wednesday he decided to go to Moscow to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin with what he saw in Ukraine.
“I made the decision to go to Moscow, to look in President Putin’s eyes and confront him with what I saw,” the chancellor said in an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson. When asked about Putin’s mindset during the meeting, Nehammer said Putin was “very tough” and “clear” in his messages.
“In his point of view, he has to defend the Russian Federation, the Russians living in eastern Ukraine,” he said.
The Austrian chancellor went on to say that “it’s not easy for Putin to talk about war crimes,” adding that he confronted Putin about war crimes and told him “it’s necessary to have international justice, the United Nations there.”
Asked whether Putin accepted there are war crimes bring committed, Nehammer responded, “Well, you know, it’s President Putin. In this position, he was not clear.”Nehammer said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told him to tell Russian President Putin that evacuation corridors are needed in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
Nehammer said Zelensky told him: “Please, if you go there, tell him that it’s now needed to have safe corridors, humanitarian corridors for the people in Mariupol. They don’t have water, no electricity. We have to think about the wounded there.”
Nehammer also said he consulted with Zelensky on whether it would be useful to visit Putin.
“These were the messages I confronted to Putin,” Nehammer added.
2 hr 58 min agoMore bodies were found, some tortured, after Russians retreated from northeast Ukraine, officials sayFrom CNN’s Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv and Tim Lister
In the days since Russian forces left the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine, authorities say a growing number of bodies have been discovered.
“There are more than 100 dead among the civilians in the Sumy region. Unfortunately, this number is growing every day,” Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, head of Sumy regional military administration, said in a briefing Wednesday.
“A lot of people found dead with their hands tied with the signs of tortures, shot in the head,” he added.Zhyvytskyi alleged that “there are people who are held captive and there are daily negotiations for them to be exchanged or set free. A lot of people whose fate remains unknown as of today.”
Sumy saw widespread damage in the early days of the Russian invasion, with several confrontations between civilians and Russian soldiers in the region.
This week, the Ukrainian cabinet allotted about $8 million to the Sumy region to begin the task of repairing housing, roads and utilities.
3 hr agoSwitzerland adopts latest round of EU sanctions against Russia and BelarusFrom CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London
Switzerland has adopted the latest round of EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus, “in light of Russia’s continuing military aggression against Ukraine and reports of atrocities (committed by the Russian armed forces) in Bucha,” the Swiss government said Wednesday in a statement.
The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research has also imposed financial sanctions and travel restrictions on a further 200 individuals, including two of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, the statement added.
“Switzerland’s list of sanctions now fully mirrors that of the EU,” the government said, adding that the relevant amendments will come into force at 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET) on Wednesday.
The European Union approved on Thursday a fifth round of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
2 hr 31 min agoIt’s “not possible” to cut off all Russian gas right now, Austrian chancellor tells CNNFrom CNN’s Adam Pourahmadi, Chris Liakos and Benjamin Brown
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer speaks with CNN on Wednesday. (CNN)Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that cutting off Russian gas right now is “not possible” and that the European Union must look at sanctions that hurt Russia more than the European Union.
“Austria is not alone with this argument against the gas embargo,” he said, citing Germany and Hungary’s positions. “And on the other side, Austria stands strong with the other EU member states with the sanctions against the Russian Federation. But sanctions must hurt Russia more than the European Union,” Nehammer told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Wednesday.
“Oil is already discussed now in the European Commission and in the EU Council. The gas question is separate, you know, it’s not only the Austrian position, it’s also this position of Germany, Hungary or Bulgaria, for example, because we depend on the gas. Our industries depend on the gas. And so we have to decide about sanctions who hurt Russia more than the sanctions hurt us,” the chancellor added.
Asked whether the question of gas embargo could fracture the EU, Nehammer said he doesn’t believe so.
“We decided to gather about the sanctions against the Russian Federation, and the sanctions already decided are really tough and strong. And we will decide about more sanctions against Russia, because, you know, we want to show that there is unity in the European Union, that this war has to end,” he said.
Pressed on what more the EU can do as current sanctions have not stopped Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Austrian chancellor said: “I think we should think about sanctions now in a more intelligent way how we can hurt the Russian Federation but not hurt us. I think this is the main important thing. You know, there is a decision in the European Union that we try everything to become independent from Russian gas, and it’s also the willing of Austria for sure. But it’s not possible now. It will take time.”The EU last week agreed to phase out Russian coal imports as part of a new package of sanctions. Earlier today, German government spokesperson Wolfgang Büchner said that Germany has taken steps to reduce its dependence on Russian energy but at this time continues
Karl Nehammer described Putin as being ‘very tough’ and ‘clear’ in his messages during their face-to-face meeting in Moscow
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