French, German ministers to travel to Ukraine for talks

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PARIS, Jan 29 (Reuters) – France and Germany’s foreign affairs ministers will travel to Kiev for talks with their Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Feb. 7-8, they said on Twitter.

German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock said the visit aimed to reinforce Germany’s solidarity with Ukraine.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he had talked with Kuleba and assured him that France was fully mobilised to find ways to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The United States and other western allies of Ukraine fear that Russia could be preparing to invade Ukraine as it has amassed more than 100,000 troops near its borders. Russia denies it is planning any invasion.

Baerbock said she was working to defuse the situation under the so-called Normandy format that includes Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine.

The four-way Normandy format talks — set up after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 — are aimed at helping end a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris, Joseph Nasr in Berlin and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Editing by Christina Fincher)


Photo An Ukrainian serviceman checks the situation at the positions on a front line, not far from pro-Russian militants controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine, 29 January 2022. Russia has recently strengthened its groups near the border with Ukraine and Belarus, with no signs of de-escalation, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on 24 January 2022. EPA-EFE/STAS KOZLYUK

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