In an interview with the ZiB2 Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) has warned against including the planned Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, which is intended to bring gas from Russia to Europe, in possible sanctions against Moscow. Nord Stream is “not really a threat,” said Schallenberg on Tuesday. The pipeline isn’t even operational yet. One must also ensure “that the sanctions do not become a boomerang”.

Schallenberg sees an “enormous consensus” in the EU on this issue. The inclusion of the pipeline, which OMV is also involved in financing, would be “inconclusive”. The West is currently putting together a package of sanctions against Russia “that will hurt.” In the field of economy and finance, according to the Foreign Minister. One should loosen the fixation on Nord Stream 2, according to Schallenberg.

Putin wants to “turn back the wheel of time”

Schallenberg sees the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine as an “admission of failure” by the Kremlin. He compared the situation with the suppression of the uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968 by the then Soviet Union. One has the impression that Putin wants to “turn back the wheel of time,” said Schallenberg. “In reality, he achieves exactly the opposite … He is just pushing his neighbors to the west, NATO and the EU.”

Nobody can look inside Putin’s head, said Schallenberg. “But the threat is unfortunately very real.” It is frightening that “in 2022 one has to reckon with the real risk of a military conflict on the European continent”.

Asked about the close relationship between former Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl (FPÖ) and Putin, Schallenberg said: “As a man, I wouldn’t be tempted to dance with Putin and I wouldn’t do it either.”

By Editor

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