Austrian president: Putin waging imperialist war, Ukrainians protecting our values

Austrian president: Putin waging imperialist war, Ukrainians protecting our values

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen has said that Ukrainians who are fighting against Russian aggression are also fighting for "our values, peace and freedom."

According to Ukrinform, he this in a speech at the opening of the 2022 Salzburg Festival.

"Our freedom and the entire model of our coexistence are being put to the test. Our democracy is under attack. With high aggression and destructiveness. We have another war in Europe. Women, men, children, families are killed," he said.

According to Van der Bellen, since Western democracies did not agree with Russian aggression against Ukraine, now Putin "wants to bring not only Ukraine, but also us, to our knees.

He stressed the need to recognize that "this struggle between despotism and freedom" will not be over in a few weeks or months – "it has only just begun."

Van der Bellen named three possible scenarios for the further development of events. According to the first of them, Putin considers everything, "realizes that he should end the war, get closer to Europe and give up his blockades," and recognizes that there must be coexistence between Russia and the European Union. In this case, there would be a "frozen conflict" and "we would continue to live as before for the next few years, the gas would keep flowing." However, according to him, this option is not very likely.

The second scenario assumes that "Europe ends the sanctions" and "leaves Ukraine to its fate." In this case, Russian gas continues to go to Europe and everyone lives "as before." According to the president, in this case, Europeans "would pay an even higher price" in the future. "In this scenario, we would pay with our sovereignty, with our security and above all with our freedom. Putin is not waging war on sanctions. He is waging an imperialist war," Van der Bellen said.

According to him, the most realistic scenario is that "everything will continue like this and could get even worse." "Putin will continue the brutal war and continue to cut gas supplies to us and possibly even stop them if it pleases him. He will not hesitate for a second to do so if he deems it opportune. We have to prepare for that. Already now," Van der Bellen said.

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