Berlin (dpa) – German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said she is open to talks on Moscow’s proposals for binding security guarantees to defuse the border conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Her concern is great in view of further troop movements on the border, the Green politician said on Wednesday after a meeting with her Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn in Berlin. “But that means all the more that you have to enter into dialogue with every millimetre of your own actions.”
“That also means, if proposals have been made that are not our basis for negotiation, that you have to talk together,” Baerbock said. For this reason, she said, she had recently repeatedly stressed “how important it is that we return to the negotiating table”. She again mentioned the so-called Normandy format of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine together with Germany and France, as well as the NATO-Russia Council. Together we must ensure “that we can avert a further escalation”. The current crisis can only be solved through dialogue.
Russia expects talks on its proposals for binding security guarantees in January. A first round of talks with US negotiators has been agreed for the beginning of the year, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the state broadcaster RT (formerly Russia Today). Talks with NATO and the OSCE are also planned. Russia handed over a draft agreement to NATO, the USA and their allies on Friday. In it, Moscow demands an end to Nato’s eastward expansion, which it sees as a threat. In addition, Russia wants to ensure that Nato does not accept Ukraine as a member.