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After visiting the US, Scholz hosts Macron and Duda for Ukraine talks in Berlin

Published February 08,2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to host the French and Polish heads of state in Berlin on Tuesday, building on his trip to Washington the day before, as he joins the flurry of international diplomacy aimed at avoiding war with Russia.

Scholz will meet French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish President Andrzej Duda in the German capital under the so-called "Weimer Triangle" format. They are expected to discuss efforts to de-escalate tensions along the Russian-Ukrainian border.

For Macron, the Berlin meeting follows a trip to Moscow on Monday, during which he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that lasted over five hours, and Kiev on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to discuss the crisis with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During Scholz's White House visit, US President Joe Biden stressed that Germany remained an important partner, following questions about Berlin's commitment to its key ally.

Doubts have emerged due to Berlin's adherence to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia, which the US and Eastern European nations have strongly criticized, as well as its reluctance to send arms to Ukraine.

Speaking alongside Scholz on Monday, Biden vowed to "bring an end to" Nord Stream 2 if Russia were to invade Ukraine.

It remains unclear whether Berlin has made a similar commitment.

Tensions between the West and Russia have escalated due to a build-up of tens of thousands of Russian troops along Ukraine's borders, prompting fears that Moscow could be planning an invasion similar to its 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has denied having any such intentions.

Some observers argue that the Kremlin is hoping the stand-off will force the NATO defence alliance to make concessions.