Poland says ‘risk of war’ at 30-year high

At the OSCE meeting, Poland’s foreign minister warned on Thursday that Europe is nearer to war than it has been in 30 years due to the current tensions.

Addressing envoys from OSCE’s 57 members, Zbigniew Rau did not name Russia, but mentioned tensions in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova – all countries with active or frozen conflicts involving Russia.

“It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years,” Rau said in a speech outlining his country’s priorities as it holds the organisation’s rotating chairmanship this year.

“For several weeks, we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe,” he said.

Poland is among NATO’s most hawkish members confronting what it sees as Russia’s revisionist ambitions in Eastern Europe.

“We should focus on a peaceful resolution of the conflict in and around Ukraine,” Rau said, calling for “full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders”.

In response, Russia’s envoy to the OSCE said Moscow would take steps to defend its national security if needed.

“If we don’t hear constructive response to our proposals within a reasonable timeframe and aggressive behaviour towards [Russia] continues, we’ll have to take necessary measures to ensure strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our national security,” said Alexander Lukashevich.

The US also has little hope regarding the latest round of talks; Washington has said it does not expect a breakthrough at Thursday’s meeting.

Moscow has said it has no plans to invade Ukraine, which is already battling Russia-backed separatists in its east and saw the Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russian forces in 2014.

Russian officials have stressed that they can deploy forces on their territory how they choose and blamed NATO for destabilising the region.

/ Argumentum.al with news agencies