Karl von Habsburg’s demands are clear: he considers Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a war criminal. This must therefore before the International Criminal Court. Von Habsburg emphasizes that the establishment of a no-fly zone, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for, is legally possible and even necessary from a humanitarian point of view.
The President of the Pan-European Movement reports how economic sanctions are hitting Putin’s friends hard. Nevertheless, one would not be able to avoid military aid. Regarding the concerns that this could trigger a nuclear war, Karl von Habsburg said: “If Putin has decided to use nuclear weapons, then he will do it” – with or without military support. According to the former military pilot, Ukraine’s request for help must be met without conditions.
Habsburg firmly disagreed with the story that the West had promised Russia in 1989 not to expand NATO any further eastwards. Referring to all contemporary witnesses, the emperor’s grandson underlined that such a thing was never discussed. The only agreement was that NATO’s command structures would not migrate to Eastern Europe. “But an enlargement of NATO was never discussed.” Furthermore, it is not reasonable for a sovereign state to prohibit a sovereign state from joining a military alliance of its own free will.
Overall, Russia clearly misjudged the situation and thought it would be enthusiastically received by Russian-speaking Ukrainians. But just because of the common language you don’t feel like a Russian. “It would be like if I, as an Austrian, were called a German.” The war has now resulted in Russian-speaking residents becoming passionate Ukrainians. “Moscow certainly did not foresee that.”
The emperor’s grandson also doubts that Ukraine will bow to Russia’s desire for neutrality, because Moscow understands this to mean the country’s complete demilitarization – not, for example, a defensive neutrality based on the Swiss model. “Russia wants complete neutralization with the goal of taking the country at a later date.”