Putin cruises into wedding of Austria's pro-Moscow Foreign Minister

Lester Mason
August 18, 2018

Photographs showed Kneissl, 53, smiling in a long white and cream "dirndl" dress and talking to Putin as they danced in a vineyard in southern Styria province, the venue of her wedding to entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) congratulates Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl as he attends her wedding with Austrian businessman Wolfgang Meilinger in Gamlitz, southern Austria, on Saturday.

'How is Austria's presidency of the European Union meant to live up to the government's own claims of building bridges (between the European Union and Russia) and being an honest broker, when Austria's foreign minister and chancellor are so obviously on one side?' asked MP Andreas Schieder of the opposition Social Democrats (SPOe).

Ms Kneissl invited Mr Putin to her wedding during his visit to Vienna in June, and the Kremlin confirmed he had accepted the invitation last week.

However Putin's attendance was originally described as a "private event" by Kneissl's office but has since been upgraded to a "working visit".

FPO leader and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has expressed support for Russian Federation and called for sanctions against Moscow to be lifted.

Members of the country's Green Party are among those calling for the foreign minister to resign over Mr Putin's invitation.

"If you invite Vladimir Putin to your wedding, you are not neutral anymore", tweeted Ukrainian legislator Hanna Hopko, who chairs the parliament's foreign affairs committee.

"From now on, Austria can't be a mediator in Ukraine".

Austria did not follow other members of the European Union in expelling Russian diplomats after Britain accused the Kremlin of involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England - a charge Moscow denies.

Ms Kneissl, an independent, was picked for the foreign minister job by Austria's far-right Freedom Party - a coalition partner in the current government.

Mr Putin's talks with Mrs Merkel are likely to centre on ongoing the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

Topics during the bilateral talks include Ukraine, Syria and the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany to which the United States and some European countries object.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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