Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Monday in what will be his first meeting with a European Union leader since launching his attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Nehammer tweeted that he would be meeting with Putin in Moscow on Monday, stressing that Austria was militarily neutral but saying the war needed to end and an investigation into alleged war crimes must be conducted.
Nehammer added that he had already contacted key European allies about the trip, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
News of this meeting comes just one day after Nehammer met with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on social media that he and Nehammer discussed continued sanctions against Russia as well as the development of a recovery plan and fund.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday, meeting with Zelensky and walking through the battle-torn Ukrainian capital.
Following his meeting with Ukraine’s government, Nehammer said Austria understood the suffering of the Ukrainian people and vowed to assist in alleviating humanitarian suffering.
Both Ukrainian and U.S. officials have asserted that the battle of Kyiv has been won by Ukraine, marking progress in the war.
However, Ukraine and allies are bracing for the next wave of Russia’s invasion, focused on the eastern Donbas region, parts of which are already controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
After part of Kyiv and the surrounding areas were brought back under Ukrainian control, the humanitarian devastation discovered in the suburb of Bucha spurred accusations of war crimes against Moscow as well as calls for an investigation into the apparent slaughter of hundreds of civilians.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned Thursday that the battle for the Donbas “will remind you of the second World War with large operations, thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, planes, artillery.”