NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Saturday he had sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov offering more talks about defusing a possible conflict in Ukraine but warned Moscow of dangers of make impossible security requests.
Stoltenberg said he sent the letter on Thursday urging Lavrov to accept more talks in The format of the NATO-Russia Council, which met in January to officially discuss calls from Moscow for allies to withdraw their troops from Eastern Europe.
He also told the Munich Security Conference that there was no sign of a Russian pull back borders of Ukraine – although Russia claimed this week that it had begun to withdraw its troops – and that the risk of a conflict was real like Moscow military the accumulation continued.
“I have invited Russia and all NATO allies to meetings in the NATO-Russia Council. And I reiterated my invitation in the letter I sent to Minister Lavrov on Thursday,” he said.
“We are extremely concerned because we see that they continue to build up, they continue to prepare. And we never in Europe seen from the end of the Cold War, such concentration of combat- ready troops,” he said.
In a rare confession of limits of diplomacy, Stoltenberg also told the conference that Moscow was putting forward security requirements that the Kremlin knew NATO could never meet.
In a dead end over Ukraine and Russia have sent dozens of thousands of troops near the border with son neighbor while insisting that he has no plans to invade. President Vladimir Putin insists on security requirements, including a block on Ukraine ever joining NATO. The bloc said that under UN treaties each nation is free to choose its alliances.
“So that danger now is the combination of this massif military accumulate, with the very threatening rhetoric, putting forward demands that they know we can’t meet and say if we don’t meet them they will be military consequences,” he said.
Speaking alongside Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Moscow’s threats to Ukraine could reshape the whole international system and cost Moscow economically.
“The world has watched in disbelief as we face the greatest accumulation of troops on European soil since darkest days of the cold war because events of these days could reshape the whole international order,” von der Leyen said.