Far-right lawmakers walk out of Zelenskiy speech to Austrian parliament

Far-Right Lawmakers Walk Out Of Zelenskiy Speech To Austrian Parliament Far-Right Lawmakers Walk Out Of Zelenskiy Speech To Austrian Parliament
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed Austrian lawmakers via video link on Thursday. Photo: PA Images
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Lawmakers from the pro-Russia, far-right Freedom Party walked out of the lower house of Austria's parliament on Thursday during a speech by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, protesting that it violated Austria's neutrality.

Mr Zelenskiy addressed the chamber via video link, thanking Austria for its humanitarian aid and help with projects such as clearing land mines.

Similar to Ireland, Austria says its neutrality prevents it from military involvement in the conflict and while it supports Ukraine politically, it cannot send the country weapons in its fight against the Russian invasion.

The Freedom Party (FPO), however, had warned days before that it would hold some form of protest against Mr Zelenskiy's address. Its lawmakers attended the start of the speech and then left.

"It is sad that the FPO is the only party in parliament that takes our ever-lasting neutrality seriously, thereby also standing up for peace," FPO leader Herbert Kickl said in a statement on Tuesday.


Lawmakers who walked out of the chamber left small placards on their desks featuring the party logo and either "space for neutrality" or "space for peace".

Of the five parties in parliament, the FPO has the third-biggest number of seats in the lower house. It currently has a slight lead in opinion polls over the opposition Social Democrats and Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer's conservatives, who govern in coalition with the left-wing Greens.

The current Austrian parliament runs until autumn of next year. -Reuters

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