Nato spoke with one voice at meeting with Russia - Polish dep FM

Nato showed a coherent stance during its Wednesday talks with Russia, calling on Moscow to immediately de-escalate the situation on the Ukrainian border, Polish deputy foreign minister has said.

Earlier on Wednesday Marcin Przydacz attended the Nato-Russia Council (NRC) meeting convened in Brussels for the first time since July 2019. The talks came during a series of high-profile meetings between Russian and Western officials as tensions rise over a Russian troop buildup close to the border with Ukraine and the possibility of an invasion.

"Nato absolutely spoke with one voice, calling on the Russian side to de-escalate not only in terms of military movements around Ukraine, but also to stop those activities aimed at destabilising the internal situation in Ukraine and other countries, mainly those neighbouring the Russian Federation," Przydacz told reporters after the meeting.

He said that Russia presented its expectations "regarding the de facto change of the security architecture in this part of the world," but "all allies approached this situation in a principled and coherent manner."

"There is no agreement that this attempt to recreate some superpower-controlled zones of influence would be the basis of any negotiations or discussions," Przydacz said.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that differences between Nato and the Kremlin "will not be easy to bridge," but acknowledged the fact that all 30 Nato allies "sat down at the same table with Russia after two years" to deal with substantive topics.

He also said that there was the real risk of a new armed conflict and Nato would do everything to prevent such a scenario.

Stoltenberg added that Nato might deploy additional troops to eastern allies should Russia again use force against Ukraine, from which it seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Washington and Nato allies had jointly rejected major Russian security proposals.

Commenting the meeting, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told the public TV broadcaster TVP Info that the stance presented by the alliance and the US were "in the interest of Poland."

He pointed out that the differences of positions were emphasised and that neither Nato nor the US would agree to Russia's demands.

"It is a positive sign that ... a response from the Western World, Nato and the United States is definitely not what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would want to hear," Jablonski said.