Ukrainian criticism after Luhansk trip by Linz entrepreneur

Ukrainian criticism after Luhansk trip by Linz entrepreneur
The Linz entrepreneur Otto Hirsch

After the Russian embassy in Austria had pointed out the visit on social media, the Ukrainian ambassador to Austria, Wassyl Chymynez, accused the man from Linz of being “fully in the service of aggression”. Hirsch himself told the APA that his trip had an exclusively humanitarian background. “Otto Hirsch was in the Luhansk People’s Republic on May 16 and 17 and provided material assistance to the residents of an apartment building in Alchevsk, into which a drone belonging to the Ukrainian armed forces crashed in March,” Russia’s embassy in Vienna had announced on social networks on Sunday evening. At the same time, the “humanitarian activities” of the Austrian citizen were praised. According to the embassy, ​​he has a warm relationship with Russia and, together with his wife Vera, has made a major contribution to the restoration of the infrastructure of the Donbass since 2015.

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Ukrainian reports

At the same time, numerous state and state-affiliated media in Russia had reported on the entrepreneur’s stay – the well-known television station RT had sent a British war correspondent to the Russian-controlled small town of Sorynsk to interview Hirsch. There was talk of the Austrian, who was honored for his commitment by the head of the Russian local government, taking part in the restoration of a school that was affected by war in 2015. On the boards shown, the school thanks the Russian Federation and the local government, but also the couple Otto and Vera Hirsch, Rotary International and Diakonie Austria as well as the Russian embassy in Vienna.

Hirsch is fully in the service of the Russian aggression, the consequences of which are murders, rape, torture, the occupation of many territories and others, commented the Ukrainian ambassador Chymynets on the reports. Visits to the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia without authorization from the Ukrainian state are illegal and a gross violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, the diplomat wrote on Monday on X, formerly Twitter.

“When children are in need, I march”

“When children are in need, I go. Regardless of any political issues,” said Otto Hirsch, who works in the construction industry, in a telephone conversation with the APA in response to the Ukrainian accusations. He has been doing this for 35 years and has been involved in humanitarian work in Romania, during the war in the former Yugoslavia and in Afghanistan. In 2015, he was asked whether he could help children in the Alchevsk area, Hirsch said. The entrepreneur explained that he was not aware that his repeated visits to the region without permission from Kiev violated Ukrainian law. According to his own statements, he traveled to the region on a Russian visa.

At the same time, the Upper Austrian contradicted the APA’s statement in the newspaper Izvestia, which was sanctioned by the EU on Friday, according to which he was convinced of the correctness of Russia’s foreign policy course and the historical affiliation of Crimea and Donbass to Russia. “I never said that in a statement,” he said, declaring that he was neither on the Russian nor Ukrainian side in this “political story.” His only wish and the wish of many of his interlocutors was that the war would finally end.

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