Germany’s foreign minister warned Russia on Thursday that it would pay a “heavy political and economic price” if it made any military moves against neighboring Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Annalena Barbuk stressed the need for a coordinated common European position when dealing with hostile neighbors such as Russia, which has mobilized forces Near the border with Ukraine.
“The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are not up for discussion for us,” Barbock said in Paris on her first foreign trip, a day after taking office. She added that the highest priority should be to avoid military escalation.
“Russia will pay a heavy political and economic price for a renewed breach of the Ukrainian state,” Barbock told reporters during a joint press conference with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We can only find solutions on the diplomatic path, and both are willing to get deeply involved personally (on this).”
Russia insists There are no plans to invade Ukraine Unless it is “provoked”.
In a phone conversation Thursday with Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked The German chancellor is now retired Over the “years of fruitful cooperation,” according to the Kremlin reading of the communication.
Stressing the “great contribution that Merkel has made to the development of Russian-German relations” during her 16 years in office, Putin said she is always welcome in Russia.
The statement said that Merkel, in turn, expressed her hope that Putin would succeed in “establishing a dialogue” with the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
In France, Barbock said a possible diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China was another “big topic” on Thursday. The White House and the British and Australian governments said none of their diplomats would attend the conference Beijing games, Resolutions intended to protest Chinese human rights abuses.
She added that Germany wanted to decide how to proceed “in unison with our European friends”.
Le Drian also said a common European position was needed on the diplomatic boycott of the Olympics. The French foreign minister spoke shortly after France’s Education and Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced that Paris would not join such a boycott.
“Sport is a world in itself that must be protected from political interference, otherwise … we can end up killing the competition,” Blanquer told French channel BFM-TV.
During the large-scale press conference with her French counterpart, Berbock stressed that the allegations of sexual assault made by Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai against a former Communist Party official should be taken seriously.
“If a woman makes such allegations, they must be heard, including at the international level,” said Barbock, Germany’s first female foreign minister.
Jordanians reported from Berlin. Daria Litvinova in Moscow contributed to this report.