Germany and Russia remain divided over the Ukraine crisis

Senior German and Russian diplomats have discussed military tensions surrounding Ukraine, but still remain separate on how to reduce risk.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock met her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday. His first visit to the Russian capital since taking office follows a visit to Ukraine.

In a joint press conference after the meeting, Baerbock said it was hard not to assess Russia’s deployment of more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border as “a threat”, urging Moscow to appease the tensions.

Lavrov said it was unacceptable for countries to interfere with Russian military movements inside the country.

He said Russia is awaiting a response to its request for assurances that NATO will not expand further, to continue the talks. He apparently urged the United States and others to respond.

The Russian Foreign Minister also spoke about Nord Stream 2, a new gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany. It is awaiting European approval to start operating, but there are calls from the United States and elsewhere to stop the project.

Lavrov said he told Baerbock it was counterproductive to politicize the matter, urging Germany to immediately approve the operation of the pipeline.