BERLIN (AA) - The leaders of Germany and France on Tuesday demanded that Russia take steps to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and support efforts for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
“We expect clear steps from Russia that contribute to a de-escalation of the situation,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, ahead of their meeting in Berlin.
“Any military aggression, violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, will have consequences, and will come at a high price for Russia. We’ve agreed on this among our NATO allies and EU partners,” he said.
Scholz ruled out the delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine but said Germany will continue to provide strong financial support to Ukraine.
Macron said France and Germany share the same approach on Russia and will continue to coordinate efforts with their allies.
“We call for a de-escalation of tensions and I want to also say how united Germany and France are on this matter,” he said.
Macron said he will have a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to discuss the latest developments regarding the Ukraine crisis.
Russia recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s eastern border, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.
It has, instead, issued a list of security demands to NATO, including Ukraine not joining NATO, to calm existing tensions.