Germany vows to do everything in its power to guarantee Ukraine’s safety

Russia has about 100,000 soldiers and artillery stationed near its neighbour’s eastern border

Germany has vowed to do everything it can to protect Ukraine. About 100,000 troops are stationed along Russia’s border with the Eastern European country. AP

Germany’s new government has vowed to do everything in its power to guarantee the security of Ukraine, as fears rise in Europe about a possible Russian invasion.

Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, said the security of the wider region was paramount as she prepared to meet her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow on Tuesday.

“We will do our all to guarantee Ukraine’s security. We will do our all to guarantee Europe’s security,” she said after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev.

Ms Baerbock’s discussion with Mr Lavrov is expected to focus on Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Nato has said that Moscow’s massing of troops and artillery along its western boundary is a clear sign of its intention to invade.

The Kremlin says the tactics are in response to what it sees as the growing presence of the military alliance in its sphere of influence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is fiercely opposed to Nato gaining new members in the region.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet his German counterpart in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine crisis. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Britain and the US have accused the Russians of trying to create a pretext for an invasion.

Ms Baerbock’s visit to Kiev was part of attempts to revive the Normandy Format grouping of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, whose aim is to de-escalate the conflict.

Mr Kuleba told reporters that Ukraine and Germany were “committed to a diplomatic settlement of this conflict”.

“Our joint goal is the effective work of the Normandy Format and the holding of a summit of leaders of the Normandy Format,” he said after meeting Ms Baerbock.

He Ukraine intended to obtain weapons from western Europe.

Last month, Kiev said Berlin was blocking the supply of Nato arms to Ukraine.

“Our dialogue with Germany on this issue will continue,” Mr Kuleba said.

Before his meeting with Ms Baerbock on Tuesday, Mr Lavrov said their discussion would include “an in-depth exchange on current international issues, above all on the realisation of Russian proposals on security guarantees”.

He said the Kremlin awaited “concrete answers” to a series of security demands

“Russia’s leadership is capable of protecting its interests both in terms of security and in terms of ensuring the rights of Russian citizens,” he said.

‘Stop politicising pipeline’

Russia has also urged German and the EU not to delay the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The project has become a focal point in political disputes between Moscow and the West.

The pipeline to Germany would double Russia’s gas export capability under the Baltic Sea to 110 billion cubic metres per year, and would circumvent Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 is led by Gazprom, an energy corporation in which the Russian state holds a majority share.

Completed in September last year, it has long been a geopolitical irritant to the US, EU and Ukraine.

The project it not expected to receive regulatory clearance before this summer.

“The certification procedure by Germany’s regulators and the European Commission should not be artificially protracted and politicised,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

“It has to be conducted in strict compliance with the current norms.”

Ms Baerbock said the pipeline does not comply with European energy law and is on hold.

Updated: January 17, 2022, 11:00 PM
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