Germany warns Russia of 'high political and economic price' if it moves against Ukraine

Germany's foreign minister on Thursday warned Russia that it would pay a “high political and economic price” if it invades Ukraine.

“The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine aren’t up for negotiation for us,” Annalena Baerbock said in Paris during her first foreign trip a day after taking office, according to The Associated Press

She added that the highest priority must be to avoid military escalation. 

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“Russia would pay a high political and economic price for a renewed breach of Ukraine’s statehood,” Baerbock said during a joint news conference with the French minister for Europe and foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We can only find solutions down the diplomatic route, and we are both ready to become personally deeply engaged [on this matter].”

Russia’s military has amassed some 90,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, increasing tension between the two countries. However, Russia maintains that it will not invade Ukraine unless "provoked."

During a phone conversation on Thursday with Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia Don't let Putin close his new Iron Curtain Briefing in brief: Biden committed to naming Black woman to Supreme Court MORE emphasized the former German prime minister's “significant contribution to the development of the Russian-German relations," and thanked her for “years of fruitful cooperation,” according to the AP, which cited the Kremlin's readout of the call.

Merkel reportedly replied by wishing Putin success in “establishing a dialogue” with newly appointed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

In Paris, Baerbock also said Germany wants to work "in unison with our European friends" on a possible diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Other countries, including the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom, have said they will not send any diplomats to China, a move intended to protest human rights abuses in the country.