Germany hopes for talks with Russia amid tensions

Foreign minister voices concern over Russia’s military steps, but underlines dialogue is necessary to de-escalate tensions.

BERLIN (AA) – Germany’s foreign minister on Wednesday voiced concern over Russia’s reported military moves, but also underlined that dialogue is necessary to defuse recent tensions.

Speaking at a news conference in the capital Berlin, Annalena Baerbock said she is “greatly concerned” over Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent comments on military preparations.

But she also said that one must continue talks with Russia, even when Moscow makes offers that cannot serve as the basis of negotiations for the Western allies.

“The big crisis we’re facing today can only be resolved through dialogue,” she stressed, adding that they would continue their efforts to revive Normandy Format talks with Russia, and to convene a NATO-Russia Council meeting to de-escalate tensions.

Putin repeated on Tuesday Moscow’s demand for legally binding “security guarantees” that would rule out NATO membership for Ukraine, and warned that Russia will undertake “proportionate military-technical countermeasures”, and will respond firmly to “unfriendly steps”.

Russia has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border. The move has prompted concerns among NATO allies that Russia could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

The US and its European allies are accusing Russia of trying to destabilize the country by providing military support to the separatist forces in Ukraine’s eastern regions.


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