Germany's Scholz to visit Russia February 15: Kremlin

AFP , Friday 4 Feb 2022

​German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin on February 15, the Kremlin said Friday, as tensions rage between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz chairs the German government s weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on February 2, 2022. (Photo by Kay Nietfeld / POOL / AFP)

"A visit by Scholz to Moscow will take place on the 15th," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that the two leaders will hold "substantial" bilateral talks.

It will be Putin's first face-to-face talks with Scholz since he took over as German chancellor in December.

The announcement comes amid a major European diplomatic effort to ease tensions after Russia amassed tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an invasion.

Scholz said earlier this week he would travel to Moscow to discuss the crisis.

Russia denies it plans to invade but has demanded wide-ranging security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO.

The two leaders are also set to discuss the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, among a host of other controversial bilateral and international issues.

Germany has traditionally been seen as more open to dealing with Russia than some other Western countries, but there are some sources of tensions.

On Thursday, Russia said it was closing the Moscow bureau of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in response to Berlin's ban on the German-language channel of Russian state TV network RT.

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