January 14, 2022 08:18
Negotiators say talks between Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna ended Thursday with no breakthrough toward defusing tensions regarding Russian troops massed at the border with Ukraine.
The talks were the third diplomatic effort this week to resolve the impasse, all of which ended without any resolutions.
Speaking to reporters following the talks, Russia's permanent representative to the OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, told reporters the talks were a disappointment and he expected more substantial, in-depth discussions.
But Lukashevich indicated Moscow has not given up on diplomacy, as did his fellow Russian negotiators during talks early this week with U.S. diplomats in Geneva, and NATO leaders in Brussels.
OSCE chairman-in-office, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, confirmed the lack of progress at the talks. Earlier Thursday, ahead of the talks, Rau said it seems the risk of war in Europe "is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years."
Western diplomats have been urging Russia to de-escalate the situation at the border, where it has amassed equipment and an estimated 100,000 troops, seemingly poised to invade Ukraine. Russia insists the troops are there for its own defense and is seeking a guarantee from NATO that it stop its eastward expansion and not allow Ukraine to join the alliance.
Neither side has moved from its position. NATO and its allies are insistent only they can determine who can join the organization. Russia asserts it has the right to place troops wherever it wants in the country and whenever it wants.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he has proposed the idea of a series of meetings with Russia, which asked for time to return with an answer.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters Wednesday Russia does not seriously consider NATO to be only a defensive alliance that poses no threat to Russia, as NATO officials have stated numerous times.
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