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Right-wing party members walk out during Zelensky's speech to Austrian parliament

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 30, 2023 7:45 PM 1 min read
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Lawmakers from the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party walked out during President Volodymyr Zelensky's speech to the lower house of the Austrian parliament, CNN reported on March 30.

Herbert Kickl, the leader of the political faction, said the Austrian government and other opposition parties were wrong to show "unilateral support for a war party," as quoted by CNN.

Four Austrian parliamentary parties criticized the boycott of Zelensky's speech, UkrInform's correspondent in Austria reported.

Reinhold Lopatka, a member of the Austrian People's Party, said that Ukraine's struggle against Russia "deserves respect." He went on to add that "Kikl is in solidarity with Putin, but we stand with the people of Ukraine," as quoted by Ukrinform.

During his address to the parliament, Zelensky said that it was "important not to be morally neutral towards evil" and thanked Austria for its humanitarian aid, CNN wrote.

The Austrian government also recently acknowledged that, as a party to the Rome Statute, it would arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin were he to visit the country.

On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly tasked with overseeing the forced deportations of over 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia.

However, Austria, citing its neutral status, has repeatedly refused to supply Ukraine with weapons since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.

Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner and her Hungarian counterpart Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at a joint meeting on Jan. 31 that both countries wanted to avoid "further escalation" by not pledging defense aid to Ukraine.

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