World, Russia-Ukraine War

‘Russia-Ukraine war biggest disaster in European security'

'We saw Europe unify thanks to Putin,' former OSCE head tells Anadolu Agency on sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum

Rabia İclal Turan   | 11.03.2022
‘Russia-Ukraine war biggest disaster in European security' Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Thomas Greminger speaks during an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on March 11, 2022 in Antalya, Turkiye. ( Serhat Cagdas - Anadolu Agency )

ANTALYA, Turkiye 

The Russia-Ukraine war is the biggest disaster in European security since the end of the Cold War, said a former head of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) on Friday. 

Thomas Greminger, now director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, said the war “will heavily impact European security for the years to come.”

“Obviously, it will depend on how long this war will last, what will be the end of the war,” Greminger told Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the three-day Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which began Friday in southern Turkiye.

Anadolu Agency is the forum's global communications partner.

Asked what the over-two-week-old war in Ukraine means for European security, he said the result has been “enormous Western solidarity.”

“We saw a unifying Europe that we would never have thought of before, thanks to President Putin,” he said, adding that it was the same between Europe and the US.

“I think this was much stronger than many would have expected, including probably the Russian Federation,” he added.

But Russia will always remain part of Europe, he said, adding: “If you want to have security, and stability in Europe, we will have to talk to the Russian Federation at some point.”

“I do hope that this is rather sooner than later that we again will develop an interest to get out of what I believe is going to be a kind of a Cold War,” he added.  

Tripartite summit in Antalya

After Thursday’s tripartite summit in Antalya of the Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish foreign ministers, Greminger said: “I think it was important that this meeting took place. It is always important that one keeps talking.”

“But I think neither of the two ministers of foreign affairs (Russian and Ukrainian) brought any contention to Antalya,” he said. “I think from a Russian point of view they haven't reached the military objectives that they have laid out.”

“I think from a Ukrainian point of view, Ukraine seems to be ready to talk about neutrality status, a status of non-alignment, but is clearly not yet ready to make any territorial concessions,” he continued.

Asked if he is hopeful for de-escalation, he said: “I'm not particularly optimistic that we will see a cease-fire in the short term.”  

Russia sanctions and Switzerland’s famed neutrality

Russia's attacks on Ukraine have been met by outrage from the international community, with many European countries, including Switzerland, announcing sanctions against Russia.

Asked what this means for Swiss neutrality,” Greminger answered: “When we talk about neutrality, you have legal obligations that are relatively simple and straightforward.”

Stressing the importance of defending international law, Greminger said: “We need to be in solidarity with all those that defend international law. And we need to send a clear signal to those that violated.”

“I think it was clear and right … to adopt the sanctions. This does not mean that we will not continue to be neutral, impartial,” he stressed.

The three-day Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which lasts through Sunday, brings together participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state, 80 government ministers, and 39 representatives of international organizations.

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