Russia's Putin to visit Austria on June 24: Official

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to award researchers and explorers of the Antarctic continent, in St. Petersburg, on June 5, 2014. Mr Putin will pay a working visit to Austria on June 24, where he will meet with leaders to d
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to award researchers and explorers of the Antarctic continent, in St. Petersburg, on June 5, 2014. Mr Putin will pay a working visit to Austria on June 24, where he will meet with leaders to discuss the situation in Ukraine, official sources in Vienna said on Friday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

VIENNA (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a working visit to Austria on June 24, where he will meet with leaders to discuss the situation in Ukraine, official sources in Vienna said on Friday.

Putin was to hold talks with President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Werner Faymann during the one-day flying visit, their respective offices told AFP.

The programme of the visit was not yet set but likely topics of discussion were the continuing unrest in Ukraine and the Russian-backed South Stream pipeline project, meant to bring gas to Europe.

"Dialogue and cooperation remain necessary to stabilise the situation (in Ukraine)," Fischer's office told AFP.

The daily Die Presse said the visit was agreed months ago but only announced after Putin met with French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of D-Day commemorations in France on Thursday - his first meetings with western leaders since Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Concerned that Austria might be seen to be getting too close to Moscow, Fischer also consulted Paris and London before agreeing to the visit, according to the newspaper.

Austria has long had close ties with Russia, with many of its companies operating there, while wealthy Russians have enjoyed the small alpine country for its ski slopes, banks and real estate.

As a member of the EU however, Vienna has stood by sanctions on Moscow over the situation in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Fischer met with Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw. He was also due to attend Poroshenko's inauguration in Kiev on Sunday.