Austrian FM Karin Kneissl faints in public shortly after being grilled on Putin wedding invitation
Local media reported that Karin Kneissl collapsed during a sideline discussion at the Alpach European Forum, late on Sunday afternoon.
“It was just a small fainting spell,” explained the foreign ministry spokesman hours after the event, denying that she had been flown from the venue in an emergency helicopter, and stating that Kneissl was merely resting in her hotel room.
On Monday, Kneissl emerged again in public (“Here I am,” she told reporters) to chide the media for the “questionable coverage.” She said that she has already been “declared dead” several times in the past few months - she was hospitalized in April for ten days with an infection – and had been placed under pressure to defend herself over Vladimir Putin’s visit to her wedding earlier this month.
In fact, in the hours before her fainting spell, the 53-year-old career diplomat, who had just returned from a brief honeymoon in Croatia, sat down for an extended interview with leading Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung. Almost every single question was about the Russian president.
In it, Kneissl was forced to talk up the reputation of her country – allegedly damaged by Putin’s 70-minute party cameo – and refute claims that the high-profile guest “stole the show” taking the spotlight from the groom, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger. She also insisted – yet again – that a curtsey to the Russian president during their dance, was not a symbol of Austria’s “subservience” to Russia, but a sign of “good manners.”
“I’ve learned not from an early age not to take things that are said about me too personally, or I would get lost in my thoughts,” Kneissl, who rose to national prominence through her criticism of the EU and mass migration, told Kronen Zeitung. “People have been discussing me for 30 years, but I remain a free spirit.”
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