German foreign minister is in Kyiv to show support for Ukraine at a time of heightened tensions with Russia
BERLIN (AA) – Germany’s foreign minister urged Moscow on Monday to take steps to de-escalate tensions, and warned that Russia will face severe political and economic sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.
“We will respond with tough, very specific measures to any further aggression by Russia,” Annalena Baerbock said in a statement.
She made the remarks ahead of her official talks in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, amid heightened tensions with Russia.
Baerbock reaffirmed Germany’s strong support to the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
“As a partner of Ukraine in the EU, NATO and the G7, we categorically support the territorial integrity of the country and stand alongside the people,” she stressed.
The top German diplomat is in Kyiv for her second visit within a month to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine. She is also scheduled to travel to the “contact line” in eastern Ukraine to gain a first-hand impression of the situation.
Germany is among the largest donor countries to Ukraine, having provided nearly €1.83 billion ($2.09 billion) in development aid since 2014.
But Germany’s opposition to military support to Ukraine remains a source of friction and has been widely criticized by Ukrainian politicians.
Berlin has so far turned down Ukraine’s requests for weapons pointing to the country’s restrictive arms export policy, and arguing that this could further escalate military tensions in the region.