Vladimir Putin danced with the bride at an Austrian wedding and Europe is going nuts
When Austriaâs foreign minister married her entrepreneur beau in a vineyard in the picturesque village of Gamlitz on Saturday, all the ingredients were there for the perfect wedding. But despite the sunny skies, idyllic location, and elite guestlist, the event was overshadowed by controversy surrounding the presence of one very notable attendee: Vladimir Putin.
The Russian presidentâs attendance at Karin Kneisslâs wedding, where he was photographed dancing with the bride, has sparked an uproar in Austria and elsewhere in Europe, highlighting concerns about Viennaâs growing drift into Moscowâs orbit. Opposition politicians criticized Kneissl for inviting Putin, saying the invitation undermined the European Unionâs stance toward Moscow in response to Russian efforts to weaken and divide the bloc.
Evelyn Regner, a lawmaker for the opposition Social Democrats, said the invitation sent a "shameful" image of Austria to its European partners, labeling it "a provocation of European proportions.â The Green Party called for Kneissl's resignation over the invitation.
For decades, Austria has sought to act as an intermediary between Russia and the West, sustaining strong ties with both sides. But since a coalition government came into power last year comprising the far-right Freedom Party, which signed a cooperation pact with Putin's United Russia Party in 2016, the links with Moscow have become even more robust. Earlier this year, Austria was one of the few European countries not to expel Russian diplomats over allegations Moscow was behind the poisoning of a former double agent in the English town of Salisbury.
Kneissl, an academic and journalist before she entered her ministerial post in December, is officially an independent but was nominated for her political post by the Freedom Party. She shares the Freedom Partyâs opposition to European Union sanctions against Moscow.Source: Google News Austria | Netizen 24 Austria