Poland minister warns on Russia, says keep eye on Ukraine

15:35, 01 October 2008
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Russia showed that "classical and conventional war is not at all obsolete"

Poland`s foreign minister said Wednesday the Georgia conflict signalled a more assertive Russia and warned Moscow`s actions towards Ukraine should be watched carefully, according to AFP.

"Developments in and around Georgia are a signal of Russia`s recurrent geostrategic ambitions and a sort of preview of what may be expected by the West from Moscow in the future," Radoslaw Sikorski said in Tokyo.

Russia showed that "classical and conventional war is not at all obsolete," the Oxford-educated former journalist said in an address to the Japan Institute of International Affairs think tank.

Poland, which suffered four decades of Communist oppression, has been a frequent critic of Russia and an ally of the United States, which is setting up a missile defence shield in the country.

Russia poured troops into Georgia in August, setting off a brief war after which it recognised the independence of the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"If what happened in Georgia happens in Ukraine, we would have a major European crisis because Ukraine is a swing state in the region," Sikorski said, noting that around six million Russian speakers lived in Ukraine.

"If it were again to be under Russia`s control, it would upset other neighbours of Ukraine and upset the balance of power in Eurasia. Poland would feel threatened," he said.

"We just hope that Russia will not make a mistake again. But unfortunately. we cannot discount that countries sometimes do what is bad for them," he said.

Sikorski, who is on a five-day visit, said Russia would not budge in a long-running dispute with Japan over four Kuril islands.

"Any attempts to come to terms with Russia over that archipelago are much more presumed to be doomed to failure under present circumstances," he said.

The Polish foreign minister met his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone late Friday and they agreed the problem of Georgia should be "resolved peacefully based on an internationally approved principle of territorial integrity," according to a joint press statement.

The two ministers reaffirmed that their governments would cooperate on establishing an effective global framework for emissions reduction beyond 2012.

Poland is due to host a session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December.

AFP via Georgian Daily

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