Russian President Vladimir Putin, on an official visit to Austria, has signed a major gas pipeline deal, and joined his Austrian counterpart in calling for a longer ceasefire in Ukraine.
It was only Putin’s second trip abroad since the crisis in Ukraine worsened.
“President Poroshenko proposed a ceasefire and showed he was ready for a peace process. In my opinion, and I told him this personally, what has been done until now is not enough to really get out of the crisis,” he said.
“We demand: no more supplies of weapons and fighters, who want to reach their goals with armed force. But Kiev also has to do its part and must contribute to the solution,” responded Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
Although Ukraine took up much of the two men’s time, the real reason for the trip was the multi-billion South Stream gas pipeline deal, of enormous economic and geopolitical significance to the pair, and for the rest of Europe that depends on Russian gas.
Outside, while the presidents talked, an anti-Putin protest saw many Ukrainian flags in evidence.