Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Vienna has also reaffirmed its commitment to cooperation with Russia, particularly in the energy supply field, and prioritized the importance of keeping all channels open for dialog. Austria was the first European country President Putin visited in summer 2014.

In Putin’s interview with the Russian media ahead of his visit, he said he sees a “positive dynamic” in the development of bilateral relations, adding that they have “enormous potential.” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also chose Russia as a destination for his first visit after he took up the Chancellor’s post, in what could also be described as a positive sign.

During his visit to Moscow on February 28th, the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurtz, said that "Austria is a major buyer of Russian natural gas and the country ensures its transit to other European countries." 

The visit is full of symbolic importance for both sides. Fifty years ago this month, Austria became the first Western European country to sign a natural gas deal with the Soviet Union, a commercial arrangement that survives to this day.

In Vienna, President Putin will attend a business conference with envoys from both countries.

Mr Putin won his fourth term with some 72% of the vote. Putin’s thumping victory will extend his total time in office to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024./.

Compiled by BTA