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Germany wants a European-led dialogue to resolve conflicts in Ukraine

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to reform the “Normandy” four-state solution to the conflict in Ukraine, when she visited Kyiv on the way to Moscow to press for European-led talks.

The EU, in an effort to curb the possibility of a full-fledged Russian occupation, was set aside from last week’s security talks between Russia and the US, Nato and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Moscow wrote that the talks were “dead end”.

Baerbock and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, said on Monday that they had agreed to revitalize the “Normandy” peace talks between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine.

The platform was set up to support the implementation of the 2015 Minsk-led agreement between Germany and France, aimed at ending the separatist war that erupted in the Donbas region of Ukraine when Moscow invaded Crimea in 2014.

“Now is the time to apply it. . . form like Normandy. In this way we can sit down with Ukraine and Russia at the same table to solve this problem, “Baerbock said.

Baerbock warned that Russia would pay “higher prices” if it attacked, and said he was in Kyiv to “make it clear that we are not talking about Ukraine without Ukraine”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US claims that Moscow is preparing for the work of the “false flag”. as a reason for the invasion of Ukraine it was “false” but he vowed that the Kremlin would “defend national security” if the west did not meet its security requirements.

Amid growing tensions, Belarus on Monday claimed to have held a joint exercise with Russia near the Ukrainian border, and that Russian troops had already begun arriving in the country before that.

President Alexander Lukashenko said the match, to be called Allied Resolve, would take place in February in western Belarus, bordering the EU, and its southern border, which passes through Ukraine.

“Today we are seeing what we need in the western and southern regions. . . exercise, ”he said at a meeting with military officials, according to the state-run news agency Belta.

In Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba said he thanked Germany for its efforts to bring Russia and other parties back to the negotiating table.

Kuleba said Baerbock and the French foreign minister “soon” will make another trip to Ukraine where the three sides “will discuss in detail the possibility of holding Normandy talks at the level of foreign ministers”, expecting Russia to accept further negotiations.

But he warned that Russia has “repeatedly banned” such efforts.

“All we need to receive is Russia’s fair preparation for working in the Normandy region, as well as in the three-person group,” Kuleba said. The Tripartite Alliance, established in 2014 and seeks to resolve Donbas disputes professionally, including Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry issued a lengthy report on Baerbock’s visit on Tuesday that criticized Germany for “acknowledging the open demolition of the Kyiv government” on the Minsk agreement and said his statement that Russia had participated in the “illegal” agreement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last week that “notices” about the Normandy summit had not “left” but that Russia “did not” understand “the timing.

Lavrov claimed that Ukraine was “under the thumb” of the US, which he said was responsible for “finally making Kyiv a fulfillment of the Minsk agreement” aimed at ending the separatist war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Ukraine said it was Moscow that did not live up to its promise, a responsibility supported by the US and the EU.

Meanwhile, seven U.S. senators from all major American parties traveled to Kyiv on Monday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other government officials.

Democrat Chris Murphy, a member of the delegation, said the lawmakers wanted to send “unlimited, unlimited information to the United States, Europe and Ukraine to ensure Russia faces economic hardship and security. If they choose to go to Ukraine on a regular basis.”

Despite divisions in Congress, Murphy said he hoped lawmakers would work with President Joe Biden to “attempt to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine”.

Additional reports by Max Seddon in Moscow and Lauren Fedor in Washington

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