Austrian Chancellor Nehammer visits Putin for talks

Now it’s Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer who who is trying to mediate in the Ukraine war. On Monday he travelled to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin in person, becoming the first EU leader to meet with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine. While there he called for an investigation into war crimes like the one in Bucha. Commentators discuss what the visit can achieve in the current situation.

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Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Keep a channel open for discussion

Radio Kommersant FM hopes that Nehammer's visit will help to prevent a deadlock in the peace talks:

“Someone has to act as an ambassador of goodwill so as to reduce the level of tension and allow a cool-headed discussion of the situation. ... Apparently Moscow was not averse to this approach. In principle, the problem is that after the events of Bucha the fate of the Russian-Ukrainian talks is hanging by a thread. ... The topic of 'negotiations' has been put on a back shelf and it's unclear how to get it out of there again. Let's hope the Austrian chancellor's visit will help in one way or another.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Morals irrelevant for the Kremlin

The ÖVP politician would have done better to stay at home, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“Behaving in a morally decent way and showing the truth - both are very laudable and yet above all very naive. The war crimes are deliberate. The reality is well known. Those who still believe that Putin is only ill-informed or is being misled by his courtiers are only denying that the Kremlin's strategy is precisely to destroy Ukraine and the Ukrainians. And then all those who stand in the way of Putin and his mad ideologues. Morality is a category that has no place in the Kremlin. ... The Russian president will use Nehammer and his message. Or he'll ignore them. After all, it's Vladimir Putin who makes the rules in Moscow.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Too insignificant to change Moscow's mind

The Kleine Zeitung doubts that Austria has any clout at all in the Kremlin:

“No one denies that in view of the Russian barbarity in Ukraine everything must be done to put a stop to the aggression. ... Russia, a nuclear power, will never be brought to its knees militarily. Nevertheless, we must ask whether Nehammer can really achieve anything in Moscow - or whether Putin is not secretly laughing up his sleeve and driving a high-profile wedge into the West's front by receiving the chancellor in the Kremlin? A one-off visit to the aggressor is not enough to bring about peace or achieve humanitarian solutions. ... Above all, Austria lacks the geopolitical clout to get things moving.”