Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia pledged solidarity and non-military support to Ukraine during a visit by the three Foreign Ministers Alexander Schallenberg, Ivan Korčok and Jan Lipavský on Tuesday.

Schallenberg spoke of a "Central European signal".

The security and integrity of Ukraine is “also in our interest.

We share the same cultural space.

The security and stability of Ukraine is also ours,” said the Austrian chief diplomat, reminding that Ukraine's western border is closer to Vienna than its own state of Vorarlberg.

Stephen Lowenstein

Political correspondent based in Vienna.

  • Follow I follow

The foreign ministers traveled in the so-called Slavkov or Austerlitz format of these three countries.

On Monday they got a picture of the line of contact with the areas in Donbass administered by separatists.

They underlined Ukraine's right to choose partners and alliances according to its own wishes.

Lipavský said Kiev must decide for itself whether to join the European Union or NATO.

Russian demands that Ukraine be prevented from doing so should not be up for debate.

Korchok said NATO's 2008 promise that Ukraine could join in the future still stands.

Ukraine has made great progress in integration in this direction.

"Russia does not want a strong Ukraine"

According to agency reports, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Moscow's goal with its military threat is to destabilize his country: "Russia does not want a strong Ukraine." He warned against looking at Ukraine through Russian eyes.

His country does not pose a military threat to Russia, but as a strong and functioning state, his role model could be dangerous for the current regime in Moscow.

Kuleba thanked for a Czech delivery of 4000 artillery shells worth 1.5 million euros.

He expressed understanding that Austria, as a neutral country, could not do such things, but hoped for other, economic help.

Meanwhile, the opening session for a “Renewed European Security Dialogue” was held at the headquarters of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.

The initiative for this came from Poland, which has held the chair of the OSCE since the beginning of the year.