Munich: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Saturday he had written to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposing more talks to defuse a possible conflict in Ukraine, but warned Moscow to raise Impossible safety requirements are dangerous.
Stoltenberg said he sent the letter on Thursday urging Lavrov to agree to more talks in the form of the NATO-Russia Council, which met in January to formally discuss Moscow’s call for allies to move from Eastern Europe A call to withdraw.
He also told the Munich Security Conference that there was no sign of Russia pulling troops from the Ukrainian border — although Russia claimed this week that it had begun — and that the risk of conflict was real as the military buildup in Moscow continued.
“I have invited Russia and all NATO allies to the NATO-Russia Council meeting. I reiterated my invitation in a letter to Minister Lavrov on Thursday,” he said.
“We are very concerned because we see them continue to build, they continue to prepare. We have not seen such a concentration of combat readiness in Europe since the end of the Cold War,” he said.
In a rare acknowledgment of the limits of diplomacy, Stoltenberg also told the meeting that Moscow had made security demands that the Kremlin knew NATO could never meet.
Such concerns were echoed by German Chancellor Olaf Schultz, who told the meeting: “Russia has made the issue of Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO as a casus belli, which is a paradox because there is no decision on the agenda. ,”He said.
Russia has sent tens of thousands of troops to its neighbor’s border amid the standoff over Ukraine, while insisting it has no plans to invade. President Vladimir Putin is making security demands, including preventing Ukraine from joining NATO. NATO has said that under the UN treaty, each country is free to choose its alliance.
“So that danger is now the combination of this massive military buildup, with the very threatening rhetoric, putting forward demands they know we cannot meet and say if we don’t meet them, they will be military consequences,” Stoltenberg said.
“We will differentiate clearly between untenable demands and legitimate security interests,” Scholz added.
Speaking alongside Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Moscow’s threats toward Ukraine could reshape the entire international system and would also cost Moscow economically.
“The world has been watching in disbelief as we face the largest build-up of troops on European soil since the darkest days of the Cold War, because the events of these days could reshape the entire international order,” von der Leyen said.