Croatia and the United Kingdom agreed Tuesday to further strengthen their defense relationship as tensions run high in eastern and southeastern Europe.
Defense Minister Mario Banozic met his British counterpart Ben Wallace in the capital of Zagreb where they discussed the current crisis in Ukraine.
“This situation is really unsettling and can only be resolved through dialogue,” Wallace said at a news conference referring to the concentration of Russian and Belarusian military forces on the Ukrainian border.
Wallace noted that the European Union, Britain and NATO agree on respecting Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.
“We will continue to work to reduce tensions on Russia’s border with Ukraine,” said Wallace. “We know well what the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine means for Europe.”
Banozic said the security situation in eastern Europe is worrisome.
“We hope that there will be no conflicts. It is necessary to find diplomatic solutions in such cases. We understand very well the current situation in Ukraine and support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We know well what the escalation of this crisis means not only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe,” he said.
Later, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic received Wallace and the government announced the meeting focused on the crisis on the Ukraine-Russia border, the current situation in southeast Europe and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Russia recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s eastern border, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.
It has instead issued a list of security demands to NATO, including Ukraine not joining the alliance to calm existing tensions.
Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.