Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (11 August 2020) before departing for Moscow and St Petersburg:
When there are issues to be resolved, it is always best to have a frank discussion. That is why I am travelling to Russia today for the first time since the start of the COVID‑19 pandemic. It is no secret that we have found ourselves in troubled waters since last year, not least due to the murder in Berlin’s Tiergarten, which the Federal Public Prosecutor General believes was the work of Russian state agencies.
German-Russian relations are too important to be left to chance. This is all the more true because the COVID‑19 pandemic has made direct contact between Germans and Russians even more difficult. Only if Moscow is involved in key international issues will we get results which stand the test of time. That applies in equal measure to the situation in eastern Ukraine, in Libya and in Syria. Russia’s conduct is also of key importance when it comes to arms control. We would like Russia to live up to this responsibility.
I will also visit St Petersburg. The siege of Leningrad by the German Wehrmacht, an abominable war crime committed against the Russian people for which Germany bears responsibility and which we must never forget, ended 75 years ago. A little over a year ago, I came to an agreement with my Russian counterpart on a humanitarian gesture for the benefit of the siege survivors. I am pleased that this is now finally taking shape in the form of our support for the hospital for veterans.