German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned Russia of the consequences of an attack on Ukraine after he met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to discuss the crisis and other issues in Berlin.
Scholz said it was a difficult situation along the Ukrainian-Russian border, where Russia has amassed around 100,000 members of its military.
“There are many troops stationed there and therefore it is necessary that everything is now done to ensure that the situation develops differently than is sometimes feared at present,” Scholz said.
“We therefore also expect clear steps from Russia that contribute to a de-escalation of the situation, and we all agree that military aggression would have serious consequences.”
Macron said that he would propose a plan for de-escalation to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting on Friday.
Élysée sources said that Macron is to propose de-escalation on the Russian side through humanitarian measures, getting the separatists loyal to the Kremlin to negotiate with Kiev and a reduction of the military build-up along the border.
There are fears in the West that the Kremlin may be planning an incursion into its fellow ex-Soviet state.
However, many analysts believe Russia is merely sabre-rattling in a bid to stop NATO encroaching closer to its borders and to win concessions on new security guarantees.
The German and French leaders met at Scholz’s Chancellery having held video talks the previous day with European allies and US President Joe Biden over the Ukraine crisis.
The Berlin discussions – the second face-to-face meeting after Germany’s new chancellor visited Macron in Paris in December – was also focused on the start of the French EU presidency and the German G7 presidency.
France has taken over the EU Council presidency for six months. Since the beginning of the year, Germany has held the presidency of the Group of Seven global economic powers, the G7, for 12 months. (DPA)