Polish, Russian FMs to discuss Ukraine, bilateral issues on Tuesday

Poland’s foreign minister is set to meet with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss tensions over Ukraine and a range of bilateral issues.  

Polands Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.PAP/EPA/Valentyn Ogirenko

Poland’s Zbigniew Rau is leaving for talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov on Monday evening, the state PAP news agency reported.

Polish foreign ministry spokesman Łukasz Jasina told the media that Rau would be making a trip to the Russian capital in his role as Chairman-in-Office of the Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

At the same time, it will be the first time in almost a decade that a Polish foreign minister visits Moscow, according to Jasina. 

In a separate English-language statement, Jasina said: “The talks will focus on strengthening OSCE-Russia relations, including efforts to stabilise the security situation and to relieve tensions in the OSCE area.” 

“The ministers will also discuss selected bilateral issues,” the statement added.

While in Moscow, Poland’s top diplomat is also scheduled to visit Moscow’s Wall of Grief, a monument to the victims of political persecution during the Soviet era. 

In addition, he will meet with Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Dmitry Muratov, the PAP news agency reported.   

Jasina told reporters that Rau’s talks with Lavrov would explore the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine, where the OSCE has been maintaining a special monitoring mission.

The spokesman added that he “isn’t expecting any breakthrough” in the discussions.Dr Łukasz JasinaŁukasz Jasina. Photo: Polish Radio/PR24

’Continuation of dialogue’

Meanwhile, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said that Rau would be “encouraging a continuation of dialogue at the OSCE.”

“However, I believe that the minister will also demonstrate to the Russian diplomats that the Western side is ready with a programme of sanctions and that these sanctions will be really tough,” Przydacz said in a radio interview on Monday.    

“We hope Russia will reflect on whether it really pays to pursue this policy when the West has promised a tough response,” he added.Marcin PrzydaczMarcin Przydacz. Photo: Marcin Dławichowski/IAR

The standoff over Ukraine

Russia has been massing troops and military hardware around Ukraine for weeks, fueling concerns among Western leaders that an invasion could be imminent. 

Moscow has denied any such plans, but has demanded security guarantees from the United States and NATO. These include a ban on the alliance’s eastern expansion and a withdrawal of infrastructure from NATO’s eastern flank, PAP reported.

According to US intelligence agencies, Russia has encircled Ukraine with around 100 battalion tactical groups, more than half of their total number, the broadcaster NBC reported.

They would be able to reach the capital Kyiv in 48 hours, the Pentagon said. 

Amid the escalating tensions in the region, several countries have advised their citizens to avoid all travel to Ukraine, while urging their Ukraine-based nationals to leave the former Soviet republic. 

These countries include Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Spain. Earlier, similar guidance was issued by the United States, Britain, Latvia, Norway, Japan, Canada and Israel. 

Meanwhile on Saturday, US President Joe Biden held a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the fourth time since the crisis began, the PAP news agency reported. 

White House officials said the talks had been “professional and substantive” but failed to generate any “fundamental change” in the dynamic which has been unfolding in the crisis over Ukraine.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Sunday warned that the continent was “on the verge of war” and called for “European unity.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday spoke on the phone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss security concerns in Eastern Europe and ways to defuse the West’s standoff with Russia over Ukraine, according to officials.

Duda and Trudeau on Friday attended an online meeting with US President Joe Biden and the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Romania as well as the heads of NATO and the European Union.

The Polish president said after the meeting that the West stood united and in solidarity with Ukraine amid a looming threat of Russian aggression.

In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and then fomented a separatist conflict in that country’s eastern Donbas region, leading to a wave of EU and US sanctions against Moscow and Russian officials.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAPgov.pl

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