German Foreign Minister Baerbock Went on Visits to Kiev and Moscow

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In the conflict over Ukraine, Annalena Berber stressed the West’s readiness for negotiations. At the same time, she ruled out the possibility of concessions on fundamental issues. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, before visiting Kiev and Moscow, stressed the West’s readiness to negotiate with Russia on detente in the conflict over Ukraine. “We are ready for a serious dialogue on bilateral agreements and steps that will bring more security to everyone in Europe, including Russia,” she said before flying to Kiev on Monday, January 17, in Berlin. At the same time, Baerbock stressed that the West “cannot and will not make concessions on fundamental principles, such as territorial integrity, freedom to choose alliances and blocs and the rejection of violence as a political tool”. “We are determined to respond if Russia chooses the escalation path instead,” she warned. According to Baerbock, “the premise of diplomacy is to understand the point of view of the other side, even if she holds an absolutely opposite opinion”. The minister said that she would listen carefully to her interlocutors in Kiev and Moscow, but at the same time “convey the position of the West to them with all clarity”. The German Foreign Minister expressed her intention to clarify the readiness of the parties to a diplomatic settlement of the conflict and contribute to the revival of the Normandy format, in which Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France are discussing the Ukrainian crisis. The conflict over Ukraine In the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, Baerbock will hold talks with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister of this country Dmitry Kuleba. She will also meet with representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). On the evening of January 17, she will fly from Kiev to Moscow for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Russia has pulled about 100 thousand troops to the border with Ukraine. The West fears the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, but Moscow denies that it has such plans. The Kremlin stresses that “security guarantees” are important to it and in this regard insists on NATO’s refusal to further expand to the east and, in particular, to admit Ukraine into its membership. NATO categorically rejects this demand and, for its part, demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine. Annalena Baerbock noted at the talks in Moscow that it is important for her to outline positions. “As the new federal government, we are interested in serious and stable relations with Russia,” she said. DW