Germany warns Russia will pay a price if it enters Ukraine

PARIS (AP) – Germany’s Foreign Minister on Thursday warned Russia that it would pay a “high political and economic price” if it took militarist action against neighboring Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed the need to coordinate a common European position in the face of hostile neighbors like Russia, which has amassed troops near the border with Ukraine.

“The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are not for us to negotiate,” Baerbock said in Paris on his first trip abroad a day after taking office. She added that the highest priority must be to avoid military escalation.

“Russia would pay a high political and economic price for yet another violation of Ukraine’s statehood,” Baerbock told reporters at a joint press conference with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We can only find solutions through diplomatic channels, and we are both prepared to engage deeply personally (on this issue). “

Asked about a possible diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China, Baerbock said the issue had been a “big topic” when she met in France. The White House and the British and Australian governments have said none of their diplomats will attend the Beijing Games, decisions aimed at protesting China’s human rights violations.

Germany wants to decide on the way forward “in unison with our European friends”, she added.

Le Drian also said that a common European position on a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics was needed. The French Foreign Minister spoke shortly after French Education and Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Paris would not join such a boycott.

“Sport is a world in itself, which must be protected from political interference, otherwise … we can end up killing the competition,” Blanquer said on French news channel BFM-TV.

During the extensive press conference with his French counterpart, Baerbock stressed that the allegations of sexual assault made by Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai against a former Communist Party official must be taken seriously.

“If a woman makes such allegations, then they should be heard, including internationally,” said Baerbock, who is Germany’s first female foreign minister.

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Christi C. Elwood