US rep to OSCE in consultations with Poland over Russia-Ukraine crisis
Bix Aliu, the US embassy's charge d'affaires, has said he is pleased with consultations between the US ambassador to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, and the Polish government as tensions rise at Ukraine's border with Russia.
Poland took over the one-year chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on January 1.
Quoting Carpenter's interview for PAP, Aliu wrote on Twitter on Friday that Poland is chairing the organisation at a crucial moment when the international community, including the OSCE, must look for ways to de-escalate tensions between Russia and Ukraine with a Russian troop build-up near the two nations' border.
The US ambassador to the OSCE said in the interview that the situation at the Russian-Ukrainian frontier is unprecedented, with nearly 100,000 Russian soldiers ready to fight there, on top of the increasingly aggressive rhetoric of the Kremlin towards Kyiv.
According to the American diplomat, it is a decisive moment to look for ways to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the OSCE has an important part to play if Moscow chooses the path of dialogue.
"On the one hand, we must be very clear about the costs and consequences of a possible escalation, at the same time we are very open to dialogue and diplomatic talks with Russia - if it chooses this path," Carpenter said.
He added that Nato, the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries, the European Council and many other organisations had made it clear that if Russia escalated the tense situation at the border with Ukraine, it would face unprecedented economic sanctions as well as political, diplomatic and military consequences.
According to Carpenter, the escalation would induce Nato to reorganise its military presence on the eastern flank, which would have far-reaching consequences for Russia's relations with the West.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who addressed a virtual meeting of Nato foreign ministers on Friday, said that the alliance must send a clear signal that "talks with Russia cannot take place in a situation of escalation of its attitude towards Ukraine and Nato," the Polish foreign ministry reported in a press release.
Rau added that the OSCE, which groups all the countries affected by the current situation, is "the appropriate place to talk about security in Europe.