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Poland, as OSCE head, says political will needed to end Ukraine-Russia standoff – Metro US

Poland, as OSCE head, says political will needed to end Ukraine-Russia standoff

OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Poland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau
OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Poland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau visits Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) – Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on Thursday called on all sides to show political will to end the standoff between Ukraine and Russia, speaking on a visit to Kyiv as holder of the rotating presidency of the OSCE.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes Russia and Ukraine as well as NATO members, has monitored a conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region since 2014.

Ukraine and its Western allies say they are worried that Russia, which has massed 100,000 troops near the frontier and is holding joint war games in Belarus, is planning an invasion of Ukraine. Moscow denies such plans.

“We are seriously concerned about the situation in and around Ukraine. Both in Donbass and as regards Russia’s growing military presence along the border with Ukraine and in Belarus,” Rau said at a briefing.

“At the OSCE we will continue to do everything we can but it will take political will and engagement of all parties to live up to the obligations and bring the crisis to an end for good,” he said.

Speaking alongside Rau, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of blocking the work of OSCE monitors and sabotaging the work of the Trilateral Contact Group, a diplomatic forum which consists of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE.

“A difficult situation cannot be resolved without making difficult decisions, and therefore it is impossible for the OSCE to remain permanently passively neutral in this process,” he said.

Britain said on Thursday the West could face the “most dangerous moment” in its standoff with Moscow in the next few days, as Russia held military exercises in Belarus and the Black Sea following its troop buildup near Ukraine.

(Reporting by Matthias Williams, Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; Editing by Peter Graff)

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