BERLIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin made a flying visit to Austria to attend the wedding of the country’s foreign minister Saturday before heading to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photos showed Putin dancing with the bride, who was once dressed in a usual Austrian costume.
Austrian authorities imposed tight safety measures around the website of the ceremony close to the southern border with Slovenia, where Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl married her partner Wolfgang Meilinger, a businessman. Kneissl, an independent, used to be nominated with the aid of the pro-Russia Austrian Freedom Party, whose leaders also attended the wedding.
According to Austrian public broadcaster ORF, Putin additionally brought a small Cossack men’s choir alongside to entertain about a hundred visitors at the wedding.
Austrian lawmaker Joerg Leichtfried of the opposition Social Democratic Party criticized Kneissl’s choice to invite Putin to the wedding, pronouncing it referred to as into query Austria’s function as a neutral intermediary in the war in japanese Ukraine, the place Russia-backed rebels are scuffling with government forces. Austria currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov instructed Russian news corporations that the Russian president spent about an hour at the wedding. Putin gave the newlyweds a cold press oil machine, a usual Russian samovar and a landscape portray that “depicts the location the place the groom hails from,” in accordance to Peskov.
Peskov stated Putin stated “quite a long toast in German in which he stated he was thankful and completely satisfied that he bought a hazard to go to the hospitable Austria.”
Speaking hours later alongside Merkel earlier than the two leaders held bilateral talks at the German government’s guesthouse in Meseberg, north of Berlin, Putin stated they would talk about bilateral ties, monetary cooperation and Russia’s Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea.
The United States and some European international locations have criticized the pipeline, announcing it ought to make bigger Europe’s strength dependence on Russia, damage Ukraine – currently a most important gasoline transit usa – and pose an environmental risk.
Germany imported fifty three billion cubic meters of Russian gas final year.
“Nord Steam 2 is purely an financial venture and it doesn’t shut the door to shipping gasoline through Ukraine,” Putin said. Transit costs for Russian fuel are an important object contributing to the Ukrainian budget.
With protesters audible Saturday backyard the guesthouse in Meseberg, Putin also raised the trouble of humanitarian resource and funding for international reconstruction in Syria.
“It’s vital to assist those areas that the refugees can return to,” he said. “I assume it’s in everyone’s interests, which include Europe’s.”
Germany, which has taken in hundreds of heaps of Syrian refugees fleeing the war, has in the past insisted it wouldn’t contribute to the reconstruction of Syria earlier than a political contract to give up the war has been reached.
Merkel said the talks would additionally contact on the possibility of organising a United Nations mission to help bring about peace in Ukraine.