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Statement by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock prior to her departure for Kyiv and Moscow

17.01.2022 - Press release

It is essential for diplomacy that we understand the other party’s point of view, even when our own opinion is sometimes the polar opposite. That is why inaugural visits like these are important, particularly in such difficult times. 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.

 

We are willing to engage in a serious dialogue on mutual agreements and steps that can bring about greater security for everyone in Europe, including Russia. But we cannot and will not go back on the fundamental principles of the Helsinki Final Act, which have protected Europe from the nightmare of major war for the last 50 years. These include territorial integrity, the right to choose one’s own alliances, and the renunciation of the threat of force as a political instrument. And we are resolved to respond if Russia takes the path of escalation nonetheless.

 

During my visit, I want to explore whether there is a willingness to engage in diplomacy to find solutions – above all, to breathe new life into the Normandy process and finally make progress on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

 

In Kyiv, I want to make it clear that we will not be holding talks about Ukraine without including Ukraine. And the new German Government will not just be continuing its engagement – today’s 30th anniversary of our diplomatic relations is a good opportunity for an update. 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.

 

My talks in Moscow will also help to establish our bearings. The new German Government wants substantial and stable relations with Russia. The list of contentious issues that we must discuss is long. In recent times, these issues have cast an increasingly dark shadow over the opportunities for cooperation for the benefit of the people in both our countries. In science and culture, on trade and investment, on renewable energies and in the fight against the climate crisis, whose impact is increasingly being felt in Russia as much as elsewhere. Civil society cooperation is particularly important to us. I also want to discuss these opportunities with my Russian counterpart – as well as talk about how we can create the conditions needed to better seize them.

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