Austria Committed to Military Neutrality Despite Ukraine War

Military neutrality remains popular in Austria, with 80% of the country against joining NATO

While historically neutral Finland and Sweden have moved to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Austria remains committed to military neutrality and has no plans to join NATO, a policy that remains popular inside the country.

As an EU member, Austria has joined in on sanctions against Moscow but has not sent weapons to Ukraine. Vienna has only provided Kyiv with humanitarian aid and non-lethal military equipment.

Al Jazeera reported Monday that 80% of Austrians support military neutrality and not joining NATO. The view is shared across the political spectrum in Austria, and since Russia invaded Ukraine, Austrian politicians have made clear that NATO membership is not up for discussion.

After World War II, Austria was divided into Allied-occupied areas. But in 1955, the country was granted independence and declared its neutrality. Throughout the Cold War, Vienna served as a buffer between the West and the Soviet Union.”

After the horrible experience of two World Wars and the Nazi terror regime, neutrality is deeply rooted in the mindset of the Austrian population,” Wolfgang Pusztai, a former Austrian defense attaché, said in comments to Al Jazeera.

Sweden and Finland have abandoned their policy of neutrality by applying to join NATO, which still needs to be formally approved by each alliance member. Finland had been neutral since the end of World War II, while Sweden maintained a neutral foreign policy since the 1800s, which kept the country out of the world wars, sparing it from being destroyed like most of Europe.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.