Russia seeking to 'provoke' in Ukraine conflict: Germany

By: AFP      Published: 05:50 PM, 14 Apr, 2021
Russia seeking to 'provoke' in Ukraine conflict: Germany

Germany on Wednesday accused Russia of seeking provocation with its troop build-up along the border with Ukraine.

"My impression is that the Russian side is trying everything to provoke a reaction," German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told ARD public television.

"Together with Ukraine, we won't be drawn into this game," she added.

The growing Russian presence at the Ukrainian border has caused concern in the West in recent days, with the United States saying that troop levels are at their highest since 2014, when war first broke out with Moscow-backed separatists.

Moscow has said it sent troops to its western borders for combat drills because of "threats" from transatlantic alliance NATO.

But Kramp-Karrenbauer voiced doubt at Moscow's claim.

"If it is a manoeuvre like the Russian side says, there are international procedures through which one can create transparency and trust," she said, adding that Germany was monitoring developments very closely.

Ukraine has so far reacted in a "sober" manner, said the minister, stressing that NATO stands by Kiev's side.

"We are committed to Ukraine, that is very clear," she said.

At the same time, she said, it is also clear that Moscow "is just waiting for a move, so to speak, from NATO, to have a pretext to continue its actions."