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Austrian chancellor: Putin ‘believes he is winning’

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer speaks during a news conference after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, April 11, 2022.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said in a new interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin “believes he is winning the war” almost two months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Nehammer, who met with Putin last week in Moscow, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Russian leader told him that the war is “necessary,” even though Western sanctions have had an impact

“[Putin] thinks the war is necessary for security guarantees for the Russian Federation,” Nehammer said. “He doesn’t trust the international community, he blames Ukrainians for genocides in the Donbas region.

“So he is now in his world, but I think he knows what is going on now in Ukraine.”

Nehammer added that Putin told him in German that it was “better the war ends earlier than later,” which led the Austrian leader to believe the Russian president knows “exactly what is going on now.”

The chancellor, who was the first Western leader to sit down with Putin since the start of the invasion, emphasized the need to confront Putin on alleged war crimes and the need for humanitarian corridors in Ukraine. Nehammer previously visited Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as Bucha, where Russian forces killed unarmed civilians and left their bodies on the streets.

Nehammer also said on “Meet the Press” that he does not believe Putin will use nuclear weapons, adding that the Russian leader “knows the threat of this weapon.”

While Austria is not a member of NATO, it has backed sanctions against Russia as a member of the European Union.

Tags Austria European Union karl nehammer Karl Nehammer Russia-Ukraine war russian invasion of ukraine ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky

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