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Austria. Volodymyr Zelensky spoke in the parliament. Far-right MPs left the room

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During Thursday’s speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, more than 20 far-right Austrian MPs left the parliament hall. Politicians from the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) argued that his speech violated Austria’s neutrality.

In a video speech on Thursday, on the 400th day of the Russian invasion Russia to Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Austria for humanitarian assistance and assistance in clearing land mines. He also invited parliamentarians to go to his country and see the war damage.

The chairman of the lower house of the Austrian parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka, declared an increase in financial and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and said that the country deserved the solidarity of Austria.


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During Zelensky’s speech, a group of FPOe politicians left the room, leaving signs with their party’s logo and the words “place for neutrality” and “place for peace” on their desks.

FPOe deputies leave the parliament hall CHRISTIAN BRUNA/PAP/EPA

Pro-Russian stance of FPOe

There are 30 FPOe politicians in the lower house of Austria, and they were the only party that opposed Zelensky’s speech. Several MPs from the Social Democrats were also absent from the hall.

Speech by Volodymyr Zelensky CHRISTIAN BRUNA/PAP/EPA

The Freedom Party has been controversial in the past because of its pro-Russian stance. In 2018, the head of the FPOe, Karin Kneissl, who was then the foreign minister, was criticized for dancing with President Vladimir Putin at her wedding.

Austria’s neutrality has been enshrined in its constitution since 1955. The law states that “Austria will never in the future join any military alliances or allow foreign military bases to be established on its territory.” For this reason, the country had earlier announced that it could not help Ukraine in a military sense, although it supported Kiev politically.

Main photo source: CHRISTIAN BRUNA/PAP/EPA

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