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Home News German foreign minister in Kyiv then Moscow next week

German foreign minister in Kyiv then Moscow next week

Published on January 14, 2022

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will visit Ukraine and Russia next week to address mounting tensions at their shared border, a spokesman in Berlin said Friday.

Baerbock’s first official talks in Kyiv on Monday and Moscow on Tuesday come amid attempts to revive the so-called Normandy Format grouping Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine and aimed at de-escalating the conflict.

Foreign ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said the meetings in each capital would cover a range of bilateral concerns but in particular “urgent issues including the military situation on the Ukrainian border”.

Baerbock, who is to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, told reporters earlier: “We are doing everything to avoid any further escalation.”

She said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the French city of Brest that the trip was part of efforts “to use every possible channel of communication”.

The West has accused Russia of deploying tanks, artillery and about 100,000 soldiers on Ukraine’s war-torn eastern border in recent weeks, in what NATO says is preparation for an invasion.

Moscow says this is a response to what it sees as the growing presence of NATO in its sphere of influence, where it fiercely opposes the expansion of the Atlantic alliance.

Baerbock’s talks are also expected to cover the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is set to double supplies of cheap natural gas from Russia to Germany.

Baerbock, a Green party co-leader who has called for a tougher stance with Moscow, has said the pipeline will not be allowed to operate if there were any new escalation in the Ukraine crisis.

But the Social Democrats, senior partners in Germany’s new coalition government, have warned against using the project as a bargaining chip in a bid to solve the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.