Western countries ‘regret’ Russia’s rebuff of meeting on Ukraine

Western nations chided Russia for failing to turn up at talks in Vienna on Saturday aimed at defusing tension over Ukraine, where a Russian troop buildup close to the border between the two countries has sparked fears of renewed conflict.

“We regret that Russia did not avail itself of this opportunity to address concerns and reduce risks,” the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said in a tweet.

The talks at the OSCE were called by Ukraine after what France and Germany described as “unusual military activities” on the border causing “increasing concern.” 

In a statement, France and Germany also expressed “regret” at the Russian rebuff. They urged Russia to “reconsider its approach and commit in good faith to live up to its political-military commitments towards the OSCE.” 

French and German foreign ministers held talks Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Ukraine situation. The three countries emphasised their support for Kyiv.

Several European nations added their disquiet over Russia’s refusal to attend the Vienna talks.

“This approach does not help in dispelling concerns about the massing of Russian troops along the Ukraine border and in occupied Crimea,” tweeted Poland’s delegation to the OSCE.

Austria said the meeting aimed to reduce risks and misperceptions between the countries involved.

The countries calling on Russia to explain itself, also expressed backing for Ukraine. Poland said that it would continue to “strongly support Ukraine in defending its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of its borders.” 



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