Poland, which has assumed leadership of the bloc’s largest security organisation, warns that Eastern Europe has been facing the prospect of a major military escalation for several weeks.

Russia says it will decide on its next moves soon as it threatens unspecified
Russia says it will decide on its next moves soon as it threatens unspecified "military-technical measures" if its demands are rejected. (Reuters)

Poland's foreign minister has warned that Europe was closer to war than any time in the last 30 years as Russia gave a bleak assessment of diplomatic efforts this week to defuse tensions over Ukraine.

"It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years," Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said during his address to envoys from the 57 OSCE members on Thursday.

Without naming Russia, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau mentioned tensions in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, all countries with active or frozen conflicts in which Russia has been alleged to be a party.

"For several weeks we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe," he said, launching his country's year-long chairmanship of the region's largest security organisation.

He reported no breakthrough at the meeting.

READ MORE: EU's Borrell: No Ukraine negotiations under pressure from Russia

'Difference of approaches'

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RTVI television in an interview that Russian military specialists were providing options to President Vladimir Putin in case the situation around Ukraine worsened, but diplomacy must be given a chance.

However, he said talks with the United States in Geneva on Monday and with NATO in Brussels on Wednesday had shown there was a "dead end or difference of approaches", and he saw no reason to sit down again in the coming days to restart the same discussions.

Russia has been persuading the West to bar Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe.

The United States says Moscow's calls to veto Ukrainian membership and halt NATO military activity in Eastern Europe are non-starters, but that it is willing to talk about arms control, missile deployments and confidence-building measures.

READ MORE: EU: Europe must be involved in talks to resolve Russia-Ukraine standoff

Tensions may escalate

The US envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said after talks with Russia in Vienna on Thursday that the West must prepare for the eventuality that there could be an escalation in tensions with Moscow.

Michael Carpenter, the US permanent representative to the 57-nation grouping, told reporters on a conference call that the United States would not entertain spheres of influence or restrictions on rights of nations to choose their own alliances.

It was a reference to Russia's demands that the NATO alliance stop its eastward expansion.

READ MORE: US: Russia must choose between dialogue and confrontation in Ukraine talks

Source: TRTWorld and agencies