Far-right lawmakers walk out of Zelenskyy’s speech to Austrian parliament

VIENNA: Lawmakers from the pro-Russia, far-right Freedom Party walked out of the lower house of Austria’s parliament on Thursday (Mar 30) during a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, protesting that it violated Austria’s neutrality.

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

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 Zelenskyy’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.

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