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Austrian chancellor sets off for Ukraine, to meet Zelenskiy on Saturday

Austrian chancellor sets off for Ukraine, to meet Zelenskiy on Saturday
Austrian chancellor sets off for Ukraine, to meet Zelenskiy on Saturday Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
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VIENNA - Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has set off on a one-day trip to Ukraine during which he will meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Saturday morning, his office said in a statement on Friday.

Neutral Austria has been providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine as well as helmets and body armour for civilians rather than weapons. Nehammer, a conservative, has been visibly moved by telephone conversations with Zelenskiy and says he wants to show support.

His trip will include a visit to Bucha, a town just outside Kyiv where invading Russian forces are alleged to have executed civilians whose bodies were left strewn in the streets. Russia denies the allegations. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen visited Bucha on Friday.

"It is important that within the framework of our neutrality we stand by Ukraine on a humanitarian level as well as politically," Nehammer said in the statement issued by his office. "My visit to Kyiv and Bucha ... serves to show our solidarity with the Ukrainian population."

Nehammer, a former soldier, will also meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaliy Klitschko, before leaving in the early evening, the statement said.

"The war crimes that have come to light must be fully investigated by independent international experts," the statement quoted Nehammer as saying, apparently referring to Bucha. "Those responsible for these crimes must and will be held accountable."

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