May 18. 2024. 4:37

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Far-right says Zelenskyy’s parliament invite risks Austrian neutrality

The far-right FPÖ party criticised the parliament’s invitation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time via video on Thursday, calling it an ‘attack on Austria’s neutrality’.

Zelenskyy will deliver his speech before parliament via video on Thursday morning, making Austria one of the last countries, besides Bulgaria and Hungary, to let Ukraine’s president address its members. The announcement has not been welcomed by everyone, however.

“In any case, we will not contribute to this attack on Austrian neutrality,” FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl told a press conference on Tuesday.

Kickl also announced his party’s plan to protest without going further into detail. The far-right party previously opposed a proposed address from Zelenskyy a year ago.

As a neutral country, Austria would give the “president of a warring nation” a forum, he added. “You could also say he is spreading Ukrainian, or NATO, or American propaganda there,” he said.

Kickl also said his party would introduce a motion before the constitutional committee to amend the Constitution to anchor the principles of neutrality and sovereignty as basic building blocks. This would create a “firewall against the European central state”, he added.

In a recent open letter, 90 signatories, including European Parliament Vice-President Othmar Karas, demanded that the government adjust its security policy to the new reality of the war in Ukraine, calling the current stance on security and its constitutional provisions “anachronistic”.

Because of its neutral stance on the conflict, Austria has not sent any weapons to Ukraine but has spent millions on humanitarian aid. From 25 January to 20 November 2022, Austria supported Ukraine with €570 million, a report from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy reads.

(Chiara Swaton |