(MENAFN) Russia's conflict on Ukraine "has fundamentally undermined the already fragile trust between the West and Russia," the Slovenian leader announced in Türkiye on Tuesday.
Speaking to Turkish representatives at the 13th Ambassadors Conference in the capital Ankara, Borut Pahor declared, "The decision of (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin to attack Ukraine was a surprise and disappointment," saying that "Russia's aggression on Ukraine" damaged "the fragile trust" amid the West and Moscow.
Pointing out the "good relations" Slovenia and Russia had for more than 15 years until the conflict started on Feb. 24, Pahor stated his nation "never felt threatened by Russia," while "Eastern European friends have always described Russia as a direct or indirect threat to their security."
Yet, he stated the conflict changed everything.
Claiming that "rational reasons" opposed Putin's move on Ukraine, Pahor declared he is currently "very cautious" about his expectations of the course of events.
Pahor went on to say that "a new solid trust" between Western states and Russia cannot be constructed "without a very strong change in the policy of Moscow."
"The war in Ukraine will bring about a new bloc division of Europe and the world without the cessation of the war and a peaceful settlement of the conflict, which is unlikely," he also claimed.
He added that with the recent situation triggered by the conflict, "a new bloc division seems almost inevitable."
He continued: "In the new geopolitical division, the Western Balkans will be part of the Western world. But this depends on Brussels as much as on the countries of the Western Balkans."
"The border between the two blocs is already being drawn. However, it is far from being definitive. This may be one of the reasons for the prolongation of the war in Ukraine," on the words of the president.
He carried on to say: "Within the newly emerging Russian sphere of influence, there is no room for countries applying for EU and NATO membership."
So, "the longer the EU enlargement process takes, the more these countries will be exposed to Russian appetites, or at least to increasing Russian influence," Pahor stated, underlining Bosnia and Herzegovina's "vital" importance.
Moreover, he asserted: "I'm trying to do whatever it takes in my power to convince the EU and the West to admit it (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to the EU on a fast- track procedure and if possible, also to NATO."
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