Carl Bildt critical of Putin's visit to Vienna

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Carl Bildt critical of Putin's visit to Vienna
Carl Bildt in Stockholm, May 2014. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's planned one-day visit to Vienna.


"We know that Putin wants to divide the EU... they always try to when they are driven into a corner," Bildt said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. 
Contact with Russia was important he said, but it should be the EU's responsibility and not Austria's.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz defended President Heinz Fischer's decision to invite Putin - who will arrive in Vienna on Tuesday. 
"I think it is legitimate to talk to both sides. We’re not stepping out of line," he said, reported The Local Austria
Bildt seemed sceptical, however, that Russia might cooperate in helping to solve the Ukraine crisis and complained that Russia was "conducting a propaganda war with full speed ahead and no signs of them closing the border" when it came to stopping arms and militants entering Ukraine.
The talks in Luxembourg also saw British Foreign Minister William Hague warn that the EU may impose further sanctions on Russia if it does not cooperate with the Ukrainian peace plan. 
Putin is expected to talk economics and gas on his visit to Austria, and protests on the streets of Austria are expected.
To read the original story in its entirety at The Local Austria, click here.


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