News

talks with Ukraine: “Real risk” of new armed conflict in Europe, warns NATO chief after meeting with Russians | World news

There is a “real risk” of a new armed conflict in Europe, warned the NATO secretary general.

Jens Stoltenberg was speaking after a meeting in Brussels between the alliance and Russian officials as fears grow that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

Russia has around 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine, although it denies any plans to invade the former Soviet republic.

A view shows Russian main battle tanks T-72B3 during combat exercises at the Kadamovsky rifle range in the southern region of Rostov, Russia, January 12, 2022. REUTERS / Sergey Pivovarov
Picture:
Russian T-72B3 tanks are involved in combat exercises at the Kadamovsky range in Rostov

Moscow wants a ban on any further NATO expansion, including a pledge that Ukraine will not be admitted, and an end to the alliance’s activities in the Central and Eastern European countries that joined it after 1997.

These requests met a frosty reception from US diplomats in Geneva earlier this week and were not well received by NATO after four hours of talks on Wednesday by the NATO-Russia Council.

Mr Stoltenberg said there is a “real risk of a new armed conflict in Europe” but that the alliance “will do what we can to prevent such a scenario”.

He added: “If Russia uses force again against Ukraine and invades Ukraine further, then we must seriously consider the need to further increase our presence in the eastern part of the alliance.

“Important differences” between NATO and Russia

“There are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia.

US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin are seen during from the NATO-Russia Council at Alliance Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, January 12, 2022. Olivier Hoslet / Pool via REUTERS
Picture:
US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin

“Our differences will not be easy to resolve, but it is a positive sign that all NATO allies and Russia have sat around the same table and engaged on substantive issues.”

Mr Stoltenberg said that only Ukraine and NATO can decide whether Ukraine should become a member.

However, he said the alliance was ready to continue talks with Moscow on issues such as arms control and missile deployments.

Russia’s representative to the talks – her Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko – is due to comment later today.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 1 =