By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MARIUPOL/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer warns that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to drastically intensify the brutality of the war in Ukraine, where new atrocities emerged Monday.
Nehammer, the first European leader to meet Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, said Monday’s encounter became “unfriendly” and “tough” when they discussed mass killings.
A U.S. official with close knowledge about the talks told Worthy News that the meeting was to test “Putin’s state of mind” amid “internationally backed efforts” to “oust” him.
Previously, Nehammer met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and visited the town of Bucha, where Russian forces allegedly killed hundreds of unarmed civilians.
Ukrainian authorities claimed Russian forces left their bodies on the streets. “I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression,” Nehammer said at a news conference.
Describing Putin as “dismissive of atrocities,” Nehammer told reporters he learned that Russian forces were mobilizing for a massive assault in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.
He stressed that the next phase of the war in its seventh week “cannot be underestimated in its violence.”
Separately, the mayor of Mariupol said Monday more than 10,000 civilians died in the besieged city in southeastern Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
Moscow did not immediately react to the latest allegations, but it previously denied targeting civilians.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko said corpses were “carpeted through the streets of our city” and that the death toll could be more than 20,000.
Boychenko claimed Russian forces brought mobile crematoria to the city to dispose of the bodies. He accused Russian forces of refusing to allow humanitarian convoys into the city to disguise the carnage.
Nehammer said he addressed the “war crimes” with Putin and urged him to allow for humanitarian corridors.
His comments followed a tense 75-minute meeting at Putin’s residence outside Moscow.
The Kremlin played down their talks’ significance saying their meetings were “not long by the standards of recent times.”
While Austria hasn’t joined the NATO military alliance, as a member of the European Union, it backed sanctions against Russia.
However, the Alpine nation doesn’t support punitive measures that target oil and natural gas from Russia as it heavily depends on them.
Amid ongoing talks, European foreign ministers said Monday that the EU’s executive seeks an oil embargo on Russia, despite opposition from countries like Austria, Hungary, and Germany.