Karl Nehammer had hardly returned from his trip to Kyiv when the Austrian Chancellor informed the local media about the next project on Sunday afternoon.

He took off again that same evening to fly to Moscow via Turkey.

On Monday afternoon, the ÖVP politician met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said afterwards that he addressed the "war crimes" of which "horrific images" have become known from Bucha and other Ukrainian cities "in the clearest possible terms".

An international investigation is necessary.

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

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Stephen Lowenstein

Political correspondent based in Vienna.

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Frederick Smith

Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.

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Nehammer also informed Putin "that the sanctions against Russia will be continued and in any case further tightened as long as people are dying in Ukraine".

The most important message was "that this war must stop, because in war there are only losers on both sides".

No press conference, no opening photos

Putin received Nehammer at his residence in Nowo-Ogaryovo west of Moscow - and not in the Kremlin, where in February Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron had tried to dissuade Putin from an attack on Ukraine to dissuade

It was the first visit by a European head of government since the start of the Russian war on February 24.

During this visit to Nowo-Ogaryovo there was no press conference and not even the usual opening photos.

The "closed format" was chosen on an Austrian initiative, emphasized Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

He gave the topic of the meeting as the "situation in Ukraine", possibly also the "gas issues" which are "very topical" for Austria, and the payment of gas supplies.

Nehammer then spoke to the media in the Austrian embassy.

He did not have a tangible result from the conversation, which lasted about 75 minutes - but he had not raised this expectation beforehand.

He said it was about "looking him in the eye and confronting Putin with the horrors of war."

Putin only reacted to Nehammer's description of his impressions from Bucha with the counter-accusation that it was a question of Ukrainian stagings.

You sat at a large table, perhaps not quite as big as the one in the Kremlin, from which the pictures with Macron and Scholz have been handed down.

Overall, Nehammer said he was "rather pessimistic" about the talks over the past few days - also in view of the massive concentration of troops in eastern Ukraine.

"The intensity of the battle that is now looming should not be underestimated." The chancellor saw it as a potentially constructive point that Putin had repeatedly referred to the peace talks in Turkey.

"It is therefore important to me that the Istanbul process is strengthened."

The trip to Moscow was specifically planned over the past week after Nehammer decided to visit Kyiv.

According to the Chancellery, there have already been plans "in the last few weeks", but always in the combination and sequence Ukraine-Russia.

The plans were also an issue during Nehammer's first visit to Berlin at the end of March.

In his words, it was “clearly an Austrian initiative”.