June 21. 2024. 5:32

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Austria split over Russia sanctions

Austria’s far-right FPÖ continues to uphold its stance against sanctions on Russia, as surveys demonstrate that while Austrians, by and large support punitive actions, the far-right voters do not.

Sanctions against Russia are generally recognised as important punitive measures in the country that maintains its neutral stance towards conflict and has historically close ties to Russia, though the far-right, polling at 28% according to a 23 February poll, continues to disagree.

“Only 46 of 193 UN member states have imposed sanctions on Russia, 27 of which belong to the EU,” the FPÖ’s secretary general Christian Hafenecker told parliament on Friday.

The European Union should stop supplying arms to Ukraine, while Austria must return to “true” neutrality, he added.

The far-right pushing against sanctions reflects a deeply divided country where support for Ukraine is becoming increasingly tenuous.

According to a recent survey by the tabloid Heute, 65% of Austrians wish Ukraine would cede its territory to Russia for the fighting to stop, while 86% of self-professed FPÖ voters polled held this opinion.

In the latest Eurobarometer, an EU survey, 60% of Austrians supported the sanctions levied against Russia. The EU average sits at 74%.

Sanctions against Russia appear to have further divided a population that was already divided over how the government was handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)