It would be “disastrous” if the crisis between Russia and Ukraine escalates into war, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday during his opening speech at the Munich Security Conference that brings together many international leaders.
• Read also: Washington continues to see ‘more Russian forces’ moving towards Ukraine
• Read also: Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists accuse each other of new bombings
• Read also: Russia announces maneuvers and shootings of its “strategic” forces on Saturday
“With Russian forces stationed around Ukraine, I am deeply concerned about the heightened tension and speculation of a military conflict in Europe,” said Antonio Guterres. He warned that if this happened, “it would be catastrophic,” saying that “there is no alternative to diplomacy.”
International leaders and high-ranking diplomats gather in Munich, southern Germany, from Friday to Sunday for three days of discussions on defense and security issues.
This annual conference comes at the height of tensions between Moscow and the West, with the latter fearing that Russian forces are preparing to invade Ukraine.
Meetings in various formats will follow each other in Munich, with US Vice President Kamala Harris, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, key heads of EU diplomats, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attending.
The Russians, who were regularly present at this conference, did not send any representatives this year.