Putin cruises into wedding of Austria’s pro-Moscow Foreign Minister

Putin in an appearance! Russian president cruises into the wedding of Austria’s pro-Moscow foreign minister and dances with the bride as her right-wing colleagues cheer

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Austria to attend the wedding of the country’s foreign minister
  • Karin Kneissl, 53, who is marrying businessman Wolfgang Meilinger, extended an invitation to the ceremony 
  • Putin will then head to talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel near Berlin on Saturday evening

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Austria to attend the wedding of the country’s foreign minister.

Austrian authorities have imposed tight security measures around the site of the ceremony near the southern town of Graz for Karin Kneissl, who was nominated by the pro-Russia Austrian Freedom Party. 

Kneissl, 53, who married businessman Wolfgang Meilinger, invited Putin to the ceremony when the Russian president was visiting Vienna this year, presidential advisor Yuri Ushakov said.

Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl dances with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at her wedding in Gamlitz

Karin Kneissl (right) and her husband Wolfgang Meilinger are all smiles on their sunny wedding day

People attend the arrival of the car convoy of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on its way for the wedding of Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and Wolfgang Meilinger in Sulztal an der Weinstrasse

The car convoy of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrives for the wedding of Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and Wolfgang Meilinger

A row was sparked on Friday as to whether the invitation was appropriate.

‘How is Austria’s presidency of the EU meant to live up to the government’s own claims of building bridges (between the EU and Russia) and being an honest broker, when Austria’s foreign minister and chancellor are so obviously on one side?’ asked MP Andreas Schieder of the opposition Social Democrats (SPOe).


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SPOe MEP Evelyn Regner said the invite sent a ‘shameful’ image of Austria to its EU partners, branding it ‘a provocation of European proportions’.

The Greens called for Kneissl’s resignation, pointing out that ‘Vladimir Putin is the EU’s most aggressive enemy in matters of foreign policy’. 

Kneissl (pictured celebrating her wedding), who married businessman Wolfgang Meilinger, invited Putin to the ceremony when the Russian president was visiting Vienna this year, presidential advisor Yuri Ushakov said

Austrian authorities have imposed tight security measures (right) around the site of the ceremony near the southern town of Graz for Karin Kneissl (left), who was nominated by the pro-Russia Austrian Freedom Party


Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and her groom Wolfgang Meilinger celebrate their wedding in Gamlitz

Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (left) attends the wedding of the country’s Foreign Minister

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and her husband Wolfgang Meilinger wave from a horse carriage on their wedding day

Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek (centre) and his wife Sabrina attend the wedding on Saturday

Yet the foreign ministry has insisted that Putin’s visit ‘will not change anything in terms of Austria’s foreign policy positions’. 

However Putin’s attendance was originally described as a ‘private event’ by Kneissl’s office but has since been upgraded to a ‘working visit’. 

FPOe Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache is also at the ceremony.    

Putin will be heading to talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel near Berlin on Saturday evening following the ceremony.

Topics during the bilateral talks include Ukraine, Syria and the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that the United States and some European countries object to.

The two leaders plan to make statements before the talks.

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