German Chancellor Scholz to visit Ukraine and Russia in February

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Kyiv and Moscow on February 14 and 15 to discuss the crisis on the Ukraine-Russia border, as tensions soar between Russia and the West.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz sits in the chancellory on February 2nd.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz sits in the chancellory on February 2nd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Pool | Kay Nietfeld

It will be Scholz’s first visit to both countries since he replaced Angela Merkel as chancellor in December, and comes amid criticism that he has kept a low profile so far in diplomatic efforts to avoid a war in Ukraine.

Scholz will first visit Kyiv before travelling on to Moscow the following day for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“In addition to (discussing) bilateral relations, the focus will also be on international issues, including security issues,” Scholz’s spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters.

Scholz will also host talks in Berlin next Thursday with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to discuss the concerns of the ex-Soviet Baltic states in the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

READ ALSO: ‘Where is Scholz?’ Germany’s new chancellor under fire

Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an invasion.

Russia denies it plans to invade but has demanded wide-ranging security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO.

Scholz on Wednesday stressed the importance of a “coordinated policy with regard to the EU and NATO” on the crisis.

Asked about a possible war in Europe, he replied: “The situation is very serious, and you can’t overlook the fact that a lot of soldiers and troops have been deployed on the Ukrainian border.”

The chancellor defended Germany’s refusal to send weapons to Ukraine and reiterated that Russia would pay a “very high price” in the event of an invasion.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin and Scholz will hold “substantial” bilateral talks when they meet face-to-face on February 15.

Scholz and Putin are also set to discuss the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, among a host of other controversial issues.

Germany has traditionally been seen as more open to dealing with Russia than some other Western countries, but there are some sources of tensions.

On Thursday, Russia said it was closing the Moscow bureau of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in response to Berlin’s ban on the German-language channel of Russian state TV network RT.

Member comments

  1. I can see it right now. He’s going to get off the plane on the 16th. And declare he has papers in his hand for peace, in our time.

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Russian gas transit halt in Ukraine hits key pipeline’s inflow in Germany

A halt on Russian gas flowing through a key transit hub in eastern Ukraine has cut inflows via a key pipeline into Germany by a quarter compared to a day ago, official data showed Wednesday.

Russian gas transit halt in Ukraine hits key pipeline's inflow in Germany

The German government in Berlin however said that overall supplies to Germany were assured, as the affected “volumes are currently being offset by higher flows from Norway and the Netherlands”.

The affected pipeline travels through the Czech Republic and Slovakia and enters Germany via Waidhaus in Bavaria.

Germany is highly dependent on Russia for its gas supplies, with Russian supplies making up 55 percent of its imports before Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Berlin has been battling to cut its reliance since, but has rejected an immediate full embargo on Russian gas.

In its daily energy situation report, it said the current level of its gas stocks was “significantly higher than in the spring of 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021”.

READ ALSO: What would happen if Germany stopped accepting Russian gas