V4 states want to persuade Russia that attacks are costly

"Our message to Russia is clear: dialogue is a better instrument to achieve your goals than military force or chemical weapons," Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said. Paweł Supernak/PAP

The Visegrad Group will jointly take further steps within the EU and Nato to convince Russia that attacks on other countries are costly, Poland’s deputy foreign minister has said.

Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk made his comment following a meeting of the group's prime ministers on Monday. The Visegrad Group, often known as the V4, comprises Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

"Acting within the EU and Nato, we will jointly undertake more steps in order to convince Russia that attacks against Western democracies and other countries are costly, and that these costs will grow," the minister said.

"Our message to Russia is clear: dialogue is a better instrument to achieve your goals than military force or chemical weapons," he added.

The V4 prime ministers meeting came in the wake of rising tensions between Russia and the West. Earlier this month, the Czech Republic accused Moscow of being behind a blast at a Czech munitions dump in 2014 that claimed the lives of two people.

The Czech claims triggered a sharp political confrontation between the Czech Republic and Russia, with both countries expelling dozens of diplomatic staff members.

In a declaration, the V4 prime ministers expressed their solidarity with the Czech Republic in its diplomatic dispute with Russia.

"We express our full solidarity with the Czechs in connection with activities undertaken by the Russian Federation," the declaration reads.

"We also condemn... acts of aggression and violations of international law committed by Russia on European soil," it continued.

Szynkowski vel Sęk stated that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had called an urgent meeting of the V4 prime ministers "in the face of recent developments in the Czech-Russian relations, and to voice support for the moves taken by the Czech Republic."

"Today's videoconference and the joint declaration regarding acts of sabotage in the Czech Republic show that the Visegrad Group, chaired currently by Poland, is united and marked by solidarity in these difficult times," the deputy foreign minister said.

Andrej Babis, the Czech prime minister, expressed his gratitude to his country's allies for their solidarity in the Czech-Russian dispute.

Babis wrote on social media that the videoconference had delivered a clear message from the V4 prime ministers by condemning the attack on the munitions dump and declaring their will to support the Czech Republic with all the means at their disposal.

He added Russia must not be allowed to threaten countries.