Negotiators say talks between Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna ended on Thursday with no success in de-escalating tensions regarding Russian troops along the border with Ukraine.
The talks were the third diplomatic attempt this week to resolve the standoff, which ended without a resolution.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, told reporters that the talks were disappointing and that he expected more in-depth, in-depth discussions.
But Lukashevich indicated that Moscow has not given up on diplomacy, as his fellow Russian negotiators did earlier this week during talks with US diplomats in Geneva and NATO leaders in Brussels.
OSCE’s Chairman-in-Office, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau confirmed the lack of progress in the talks. Earlier on Thursday, ahead of the talks, Rao said it appears the risk of war in Europe is “higher than ever in the last 30 years.”
Western diplomats are urging Russia to de-escalate the situation at the border, where it has equipment and an estimated 100,000 troops, ready to invade Ukraine. Russia insists the troops are there to defend itself and is seeking guarantees from NATO to halt its eastward expansion and not allow Ukraine to join the alliance.
Neither side has withdrawn from its position. NATO and its allies are insisting only they can determine who can join the organization. Russia insists that it has the right to deploy troops wherever and whenever it wants in the country.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he had proposed the idea of a series of meetings with Russia, which sought time to return with a reply.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Wednesday that Russia seriously does not consider NATO to be just a defensive alliance that poses no threat to Russia, as NATO officials have said several times.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.