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Crossing Moscow’s red line ‘permissible’ – Austria

Chancellor Karl Nehammer has dismissed a warning from his own defense minister on striking Russia

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer does not perceive the decision by NATO nations to allow Kiev to use their weapons against Russia outside of what they consider Ukrainian territory as a cause for concern.

Speaking with the NZZ media group, Neuhammer said he disagreed with Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, who said earlier this month that the US and its allies had crossed a “red line” by granting Ukraine such permission.

The interview with Nehammer was published on Monday, after his liberal-conservative Austrian People’s Party (OVP) lost convincingly to the nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) in this month’s European Parliament election.

The chancellor said the debate on use of Western arms had gone “in the wrong political direction” in a shameful way. His stance is that “under international law, such attacks on Russia are permissible.” Moscow could withdraw troops and see Western military aid to Kiev “automatically reduced,” he said.

The previous restriction on Ukraine’s use of US weapons was imposed by President Joe Biden to prevent World War III.” According to the media, Washington relaxed it and allowed limited strikes on Russia’s Belgorod Region due to Russian advances in neighboring Kharkov Region. Multiple NATO nations have made similar policy changes regarding arms that they donate to Ukraine.

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Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, Brussels, March 21, 2022.
NATO ‘crossed red line’ – Austria

The Austrian foreign minister said that while she perceived that as escalatory, “as a militarily neutral state, it is not our place to judge.” Tanner added that she was happy to hear assurances by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that members of the US-led bloc will not be required to send troops to Ukraine.

Moscow has described the Ukraine conflict as part of a proxy war on Russia, in which Ukrainians serve as “cannon fodder.” Western nations are de facto participating parties due to the level of their involvement and the influence they have on Ukrainian actions, according to Russian officials.

President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia could send weapon systems similar to those provided to Ukraine to enemies of the US and its allies to be used against Western military assets. This path of escalation leads to an outcome that neither side will like, he warned.


READ MORE: Ukraine to pressure foreign banks over Russia ties – media

He accused his opponents of spreading “Russian narratives” about Ukraine and declared that unlike centrists, “radicals have no answers and are offering pseudo-solutions,” referring to populist forces surging across the EU.

June 18, 2024 at 03:11PM
RT

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