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Ukrainian crisis: talks between the West and Russia end in deadlock and the risk of war remains more real than ever | World news

Europe has not been so close to war for three decades.

It was the harsh assessment delivered to 57 nations in Vienna on Thursday.

The President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, said the Ukraine crisis was extremely worrying.

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Russia and the West: What’s Happening?

Russian and Western diplomats met in three cities this week, but with no sign of progress.

American diplomats say conflict is looming, that the war drum is getting louder and louder. America rejects Russia’s demands for sweeping security guarantees.

Russia wants solid assurances that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO and that Allied forces will be withdrawn from Eastern European countries that have already joined.

Don’t bridge the gap

America has dismissed this as unacceptable. A sovereign country has the right to join any organization it chooses, say Western diplomats.

Hours of talks across Europe failed to bridge the gap.

Russian Ambassador to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich told Sky News that it was NATO that was the aggressor.

Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE, Ambassador Alexander Lukashevich.  Photo: AP
Picture:
Russian Ambassador to the OSCE Alexander Lukachevich said diplomacy would be stepped up. Photo: AP

“The question is, what are the United States, United Kingdom and other members of the alliance doing on the territory of Ukraine with military exercises, very provocative flights, etc.?

Russia had said it would decide at the end of this week’s talks whether or not to continue diplomacy.

All eyes are on Moscow as President Vladimir Putin takes his next step.

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Former NATO Secretary General: “Putin is good at playing with strength with a weak hand”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the talks were unsuccessful.

This was followed by reports that Mr Putin was consulting on military options in case there was no further progress.

But other Russian officials say the diplomatic route will continue to be pursued.

‘Speed at the top diplomacy’

Ambassador Lukashevich told Sky News: “We will step up diplomacy”.

The mixed message can be tactical.

Russia’s naval threat ‘real’, but Ukraine will fight back, warns Vice Admiral

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Mr. Putin is a master of the art of confusing his enemies with contradictory signals. He lets the world guess.

What is clear is that a week of intense diplomacy did nothing to defuse this crisis.

The talks are ending as they started – at an impasse.

This means that the risk of invasion and war remains more real than ever.

Read more:
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