Diplomatic efforts underway to defuse Russia-Ukraine Tensions

Several Western countries have accused Moscow of having amassed troops near the Ukrainian border, stoking fears of a Russian “invasion”.
Ukraine and Russia

Beijing, Feb 12: As uncertainty on the Russia-Ukraine border keeps growing, intensive diplomatic efforts are underway, aiming to resolve the tensions through peaceful settlement.

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), on Thursday met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Brussels over Russia-Ukraine tensions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Stoltenberg said in a press release that “this is a dangerous moment for European security,” underlining that while NATO is prepared for the worst, it is still committed to finding a political solution.

He welcomed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the visit of British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to Moscow. He also welcomed Britain’s offer of more troops, ships and planes to NATO.

“This is probably the most dangerous moment. I would say that in the course of the next few days, in what is the biggest security crisis that Europe has faced for decades; we’ve got to get it right,” Johnson told journalists, adding that he doesn’t think a decision has yet been taken for “an invasion”.

Several Western countries have accused Moscow of having amassed troops near the Ukrainian border, stoking fears of a Russian “invasion”.

Moscow denied the accusation, saying that Russia has the right to mobilise troops within its borders to defend its territory as NATO’s activities constitute a threat to Russia’s border security.

At a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron following their hours-long talks in the Kremlin earlier this week, Putin said Russia’s core concerns on security were ignored by the US and NATO, while the military alliance attempts to lecture Russia on where and how to place its armed forces.

The Russian President reiterated Russia’s opposition to NATO’s eastward expansion, adding that Kiev refuses to comply with the 2015 Minsk agreements on a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian issue and is even attempting to dismantle the deals.

After talks with the British Foreign Secretary on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “I cannot say that we have any points of convergence here, but I hope that today’s talks have allowed our British colleagues to better understand how significant this issue is for Russia”.

Moscow is awaiting a concrete reaction from the West outlining its commitment to the principle of indivisible security, Lavrov added.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday called for reducing tensions between Ukraine and Russia and supported diplomatic efforts by the international community.

“We advocate the de-escalation of tensions between Ukraine and Russia and between Russia and the West,” Plenkovic said in a joint statement after talks with the Greek Prime Minister, who is on his second visit to Croatia in two and half years.

“Our common position is to reduce tensions,” Mitsotakis said, adding that both support diplomatic channels and the diplomatic efforts of the international community.

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