Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba delivered a keynote speech via video at a gathering of Austrian ambassadors in Vienna. His speech was marked by praise for Austria’s interpretation of neutrality during the Ukraine war and appreciation for Austrian companies’ continued presence in Ukraine, particularly Fischer ski company’s significant investments.
Kuleba commended Austria for not only maintaining its moral stance but also actively contributing to the Ukrainian cause. Austria has provided humanitarian and financial aid amounting to 314 million euros. Kuleba acknowledged Austria’s diplomatic influence, especially in southeastern Europe.
He highlighted the importance of Austrian businesses, like Fischer, staying invested in Ukraine and expressed hope for their continued involvement in the country’s reconstruction efforts. Kuleba also emphasized the need for using frozen Russian accounts for reparations, asserting that “Russia must pay for the damage it has caused.” He discarded any sentimental notions about Russia and declared it as Europe’s primary adversary today.
Kuleba stressed that Ukraine’s victory in the conflict would shape a new Europe and hoped for Austria’s support in Ukraine’s accession talks with the European Union. He framed supporting Ukraine as synonymous with upholding the UN Charter.
The Ukrainian foreign minister firmly stated that Ukraine was not ready for a premature peace or to accept a “frozen conflict” status. He reiterated Ukraine’s unwavering position on territorial integrity, asserting that there could be no justice without the return of Crimea and Donbass to Ukraine. This stance reflects Ukraine’s determination, though it may not align with realpolitik or a willingness to compromise.
In response to his speech, Austrian ambassadors gave Kuleba a standing ovation. He concluded the gathering by raising a toast to Ukraine with a glass of yellow muscatel, and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg expressed a desire for future meetings in the Wachau region, emphasizing the close geographical proximity between the two nations.
Kuleba’s speech served to reinforce Austria’s support for Ukraine and its commitment to diplomatic and financial aid in the face of the ongoing conflict. It also underscored Ukraine’s determination to regain control of Crimea and Donbass, highlighting the complexities of the situation in the region.