Poland's foreign minister warned on Thursday that Europe is closer to war than it has been in decades, as ongoing talks meant to reduce tensions between Russia and Ukraine show scant signs of progress.
The warning from Zbigniew Rau came during his address to the 57 members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Though Rau did not name Russia specifically, he listed several conflicts with which the country is involved, according to Reuters.
"It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years," Rau said in a speech as Poland takes over the OSCE's chairmanship this year, the news service reported.
The group gathered for a third round of diplomacy regarding tensions between Ukraine and Russia as Moscow has demanded that Ukraine not be allowed to join NATO, Reuters added.
"For several weeks we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe," Rau said.
"We should focus on a peaceful resolution of the conflict in and around Ukraine," he added, urging "full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders".
Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, but has repeatedly denied any intention of again invading its neighbor.
The OSCE meeting was the third round of diplomacy between Russia and the West this week.
Officials from the U.S. and Russia met in Geneva on Monday for a Strategic Security Dialogue, and the NATO-Russia council convened on Wednesday, after which NATO offered further talks with Russia over its security demands.
“There are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia on these issues. Our differences will not be easy to bridge,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “But it is a positive sign that all NATO allies and Russia sat down around the same table, and engaged on substantive topics.”