Russia-Ukraine crisis looms as Biden and Scholz meet

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(Gleb Garanich/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

The German government is prepared to enforce “unprecedented sanctions” on Russia if the Kremlin fails to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Monday, adding that the “ball is firmly in Moscow’s court.”

The comments came ahead of President Biden’s meeting at the White House with Germany’s new chancellor Olaf Scholz where Ukraine-Russia tensions are expected to be a key topic.

“We will do everything to ensure that there is no further escalation. We have therefore jointly prepared a series of tough measures against Russia for this eventuality,” Baerbock said. 

“These unprecedented sanctions have been coordinated and prepared with the approval of all partners,” she added. 

Speaking alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv, Baerbock told members of the press that Germany and its NATO allies “stand absolutely by the territorial integrity and sovereignty” of Ukraine. 

“There is at all times a willingness to engage in serious dialogue with Russia — that is the point of diplomacy — but also absolute clarity that there will be harsh consequences if there is further aggression against Ukraine,” Baerbock said. 

“We are prepared to pay a high economic price for this. Because the security of Ukraine is at stake,” she added. 

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