Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was the first EU leader to meet with Putin since the invasion.
Nehammer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” the conversation was “frank and tough.”
He also said Putin is “in his own war logic” and thinks Russia is winning the war.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Russian President Vladimir Putin is fairly confident about his military campaign in Ukraine, even after Russian forces withdrew from part of the country after weeks of stagnation.
Nehammer on Monday became the first European Union leader to meet with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Saturday, Nehammer said the conversation with Putin was not “friendly” but “frank and tough.”
“I think he is now in his own war logic. He thinks the war is necessary for security guarantees for the Russian Federation. He doesn’t trust the international community. He blames Ukrainians for genocide in the Donbas region.”
When asked by host Chuck Todd if Putin thought he was winning the war, Nehammer said he thinks “he believes he is winning the war.”
Nehammer said earlier this week he was “not particularly optimistic after my talks with Putin.”
“I made it clear to Mr. Putin, his attitude, his view is not shared by anybody,” Nehammer said during a press briefing in Moscow. “He sees it as a kind of self-defense operation of the Russian federation. He calls it special military operations. I call it the war.”
Russian forces withdrew from areas around Kyiv earlier this month after failing to capture Ukraine’s capital city and were dealt another blow this week after the warship Moskva was struck by a Ukrainian missile and sunk.
Russian troops have been regrouping for what is expected to be a new offensive in the eastern Donbas region.
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