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First official visits to Kyiv and Moscow in difficult times

City view of Moscow

City view of Moscow, © ©picture alliance / pressefoto_korb

16.01.2022 - Article

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is continuing her travels on 17 and 18 January with her first official visits to Ukraine and Russia.

Diplomacy on the basis of shared principles

The first official visits to Ukraine and Russia take place against the backdrop of the military situation close to the Ukrainian border and following the various dialogue formats with Russia at the NATO-Russia Council, in the OSCE and at bilateral level in the past week. Foreign Minister Baerbock issued the following statement:

I will listen very closely to my interlocutors, both in Moscow and Kyiv. But I will also clearly convey the position that we unanimously share within the EU, the G7 and the transatlantic alliance.

Germany is willing to engage in serious dialogue on what we can do to increase security for everyone in Europe. Our guide is and remains the fundamental principles of the Helsinki Final Act, which have served as guarantors of peace and security in Europe over the last 50 years. They include territorial integrity and the right of states to choose their own alliances. Foreign Minister Baerbock also emphasised the following point:

And we are resolved to respond if Russia takes the path of escalation nonetheless.

A woman speaking into a microphone, a man with headphones looking at her and listening
Foreign Minister Baerbock at the press conference with her ukrainian counterpart DmytroKuleba© Janine Schmitz/photothek.de

Thirty years of diplomatic relations with Ukraine

In Kyiv on 17 January, Foreign Minister Baerbock will meet her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and President Volodymyr Zelensky. The goal of the meeting will be to make clear that Ukraine is not being sidelined in our diplomatic efforts.

The visit to Kyiv coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Ukraine. Foreign Minister Baerbock intends to use this as an opportunity to update cooperation between the two countries. 

“For me, that means, not least, helping to strengthen Ukraine’s potential. I therefore want to talk about initiatives for the sustainable modernisation of the Ukrainian energy sector, about the development of the green hydrogen market and offers of support with cyber defence.”

People with face masks entering a room, a banner saying Ukrainian hydrogen council on the right
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Oleksandr Riepkin, President of the Ukrainian Hydrogen Council© Janine Schmitz/photothek.de

In Kyiv, Foreign Minister Baerbock will meet German representatives of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and Mikka Kinnunen, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson‑in‑Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group. The OSCE plays an important role in monitoring the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine.

Establish our bearings in relations with Russia

Afterwards, Foreign Minister Baerbock will travel on to Moscow, where she will meet her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday (18 January). Referring to this meeting, Foreign Minister Baerbock said:

My talks in Moscow will also help to establish our bearings. The new German Government wants substantial and stable relations with Russia.

People in formal clothing sitting on a table with microphones, a camera in the back
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock talking with her russian counterpart Sergej Lawrow© Janine Schmitz/photothek.de

The list of contentious issues that the two ministers need to discuss is a long one. That does not exactly facilitate cooperation in many areas, which could improve the lives of people in Germany and Russia. These include science and culture, trade and investment, renewable energies and the fight against climate change – the ministers will likewise discuss all these topics and explore the potential for cooperation.

In Moscow, Foreign Minister Baerbock will also visit the Diversity United exhibition, which is funded by the Federal Government, in the New Tretyakov Gallery. The exhibition was launched last November as part of the Germany Year in Russia.

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