Firmly Warns Russia Not To Invade Ukraine, German Foreign Minister: Diplomacy Is The Only Way!
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. (Wikimedia Commons/boellstiftung)

JAKARTA - German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Monday she hoped escalating tensions with Russia over Ukraine could be resolved through diplomacy, but warned that Moscow would suffer if it attacked the country.

"Any further aggressive action will have a high price for Russia, economically, strategically, politically," Baerbock, in Kyiv, is on a trip that will next take him to Moscow.

"Diplomacy is the only way," she told a joint news conference with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

Talks between Moscow and Western countries about deploying tens of thousands of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border ended without a breakthrough last week. Meanwhile, the cyberattack against Ukraine has further escalated tensions.

At the same time, Kuleba said Ukraine and Germany were united in pushing to revive four-way peace talks to end the war in eastern Ukraine, in the so-called 'Normandy' format, which includes Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia.

Excluded from most of last week's talks, Ukraine has repeatedly sought and received assurances from allies that no decisions will be made on its future without its involvement and approval.

"It is important for us now that neither Berlin nor Paris make any decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine, and do not play any game behind our backs in relations with Russia. This is the key now," said Minister Kuleba.

"For this, I want to thank Annalena for taking such a principled position."

Germany itself is known to have backed Ukraine with diplomatic aid and backing, in its stalemate with Moscow since Russia seized the Crimean peninsula and backed separatists in the Donbass region in 2014.

But there is a point of contention. Ukraine opposes Nord Stream 2, an unopened pipeline that would deliver Russian gas to Germany, avoiding transit through Ukraine. Baerbock said the pipeline was now on hold and did not comply with European energy law.

For information, Kyiv also criticized Berlin's refusal to sell arms to Ukraine. Ukraine's ambassador to Germany called the decision "very frustrating and bitter" in an interview with German media ahead of Baerbock's visit.

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