“Positive news” – Schallenberg happy with Kiev’s advance

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Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) welcomed Ukraine’s recent military successes in the fight against Russian invaders. “This is certainly positive news,” Schallenberg told journalists in Vienna. At the same time, this is a sign that the war “will not be over soon”. “One side wants Ukraine to be destroyed, the other defends its territory,” Schallenberg summed up the situation.

Schallenberg spoke in a joint press conference with Minister of Economy and Labor Martin Kocher. The two ministers made a strong commitment to the EU sanctions against Russia and emphasized their effectiveness, after they had recently been repeatedly discussed by well-known ÖVP politicians.

“Clear line” on sanctions
“As a federal government, we have a clear line,” Schallenberg confirmed. While there should be “no ban on thinking” and the sanctions are regularly tested for their effectiveness, the “status” of the Western world on this issue is at stake, the foreign minister warned. As Russia and China look to rewrite international rules, the world is closely watching how the West is addressing this challenge, he argued.

Kocher stressed that after the Russian war of aggression there was a “fundamental need” to impose sanctions. “That hasn’t changed,” he said. But the sanctions were not only correct, they also proved effective. It is estimated that they have collapsed the Russian economy by 6 to 12 percent this year, while Austria’s economy continues to grow. The sanctions are said to have a “hugely stronger effect” in Russia than in EU countries.

The Minister of Economic Affairs admitted that they had hoped for a less sharp rise in energy prices. He refuted the argument that Europe would finance the Russian war through higher gas prices. “Such simple income-expenditure estimates do not do justice to a complex situation,” emphasized Kocher. The purpose of the sanctions is to weaken Russia’s ability to wage war.

“Need strong nerves”
Schallenberg pointed in this regard to the problems with aircraft maintenance or the closure of tank factories due to the EU export bans. “Actually, the signs are in our favor,” the foreign minister said. “We need strong nerves and make the sanctions work.”

At the same time, the two ministers complained about the effect of Russian disinformation. It is a “misconception” and “wishful thinking” to think that energy prices would fall again if sanctions were lifted. In this regard, Kocher pointed out that inflation had already risen before the outbreak of the war. Reasons were the economic recovery after the Corona crisis, supply problems and the shortage of labor. So “half” of current inflation “is driven by factors unrelated to the war,” Kocher said.

Source: Krone

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