June 6, 2014 / 7:52 AM / 6 years ago

Russia's Putin to visit Austria on June 24

Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with government members at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

VIENNA (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a one-day visit to Austria on June 24 and meet President Heinz Fischer, Fischer’s office said on Friday.

Neutral Austria has been walking a fine diplomatic line with Russia, expressing solidarity with European Union colleagues condemning its annexation of Crimea while playing down the need for tougher economic sanctions against Moscow that could hit business hard.

A number of Austrian banks and energy firms have commercial interests in Russia.

“Austria maintains its position that dialogue and readiness for talks are of special significance in the current phase, and this readiness for talks must include Russia,” the Krone paper quoted Fischer as saying.

A spokeswoman for Fischer said Vienna had coordinated the visit with its European partners. Putin’s exact program in Vienna was still under discussion, she said.

Putin was set to meet world leaders on Friday in France to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings that helped lead to victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by John Stonestreet and Sonya Hepinstall

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