Austrian President travels to Bucha and meets with Zelenski in Kiev

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen during his visit to Kiev, Ukraine. – Roland Schlager/APA/dpa

The President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, traveled on Wednesday to the town of Bucha, known for the massacre perpetrated by Russian soldiers, and also traveled to Kiev to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelenski.

«Here in Bucha, I weep for every life destroyed by this terrible war of aggression. These crimes against humanity, against everything we stand for, must not be forgotten and must not go unpunished,» Van der Bellen has asserted on his official Twitter profile.

Van der Bellen visited in the city one of the mass cemeteries of Russian victims, as well as a school destroyed by the bombing attacks and whose roof has been repaired thanks to financial donations from Austria.

Later, after meeting with Zelenski, Van der Bellen conveyed Austria’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and pledged to continue financial and humanitarian aid to the Eastern European country.

«Austria is a neutral country. However, military neutrality does not mean that we are neutral in terms of values,» said the president, who stressed that the country cannot be indifferent to the fact that one state invades another in Europe.

For his part, Zelenski thanked Van der Bellen for his support, but called on Austrian companies to withdraw from Russia and move to Ukrainian territory, according to Ukrinform news agency.

For the Ukrainian president it is imperative to redouble pressure and sanctions on Russia, which must «feel the price» of the «terror» caused in Ukraine. «I have emphasized the need for further strengthening of sanctions,» he said.

«In this context, we take note of the situations of Austrian companies. There are some of them who, despite the terrible Russian terror, do not leave Russia, continue to support the terrorist state, in our opinion, with their taxes,» Zelenski has lamented.

In fact, the Ukrainian president targeted the Raiffeisen Bank, an entity that «not only works in Russia, but also makes decisions such as tax exemptions for those mobilized in the Russian Army».

«We believe this is unacceptable in today’s realities. We call on the Austrian side to make every effort to ensure that individual companies do not actually deceive Austrian society,» he concluded.