VIENNA (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Vienna on his second trip to the West since tensions spiraled over Russia's annexation of Crimea and actions in eastern Ukraine.
Putin plans meetings with Austrian leaders and the current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, during Tuesday's half-day visit. Austrian President Heinz Fischer has said it's important to keep channels of communication open.
Ahead of Putin's visit, Austrian energy company OMV and Russian gas monopoly Gazprom signed a contract to build the Austrian section of a gas pipeline to supply Europe, bypassing Ukraine, the Austria Press Agency reported.
The South Stream pipeline will cross the Black Sea, Serbia and Hungary. OMV argues that it will bolster Europe's supply security.