Swiss OCSE chief warns of European security risks

Greminger is concerned by the breakdown in trust between Moscow and the West. Keystone

The increasing trend for nationalism is a threat to security in Europe, the Swiss head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OCSE), Thomas Greminger said in a newspaper interview.

Greminger, a career diplomat, warned of heightened tension between Russia and Ukraine, added to deteriorating political relations between Moscow and the United States and western Europe.

The OCSE Secretary-General told the German Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper that the situation is "alarming, because there is a polarized environment and unpredictability of actors on a scale that we have not had for decades".

Last month Russia seized 24 Ukrainian sailors and three ships in the Kerch Strait off the coast of the disputed Crimea coast. Greminger called on Moscow to de-escalate the situation before it leads to a chain reaction of tit-for-tat measures.

"We absolutely must manage the military risks again and reduce them," Greminger said in the newspaper interview. "There is simply no political will for peace at the moment".

He also warned of a breakdown in trust between Russia, the US and key European nations. “Our observers are seeing more and more near incidents," he said.

Greminger was appointed to a three-year term as OCSE Secretary-General in 2017 having previously held senior roles at the Swiss foreign ministry and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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