Germany on Thursday called on Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and engage in dialogue to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

“What we expect from Russia now is clear steps to de-escalate and to reduce the present tensions in the region. At the same time, we stand ready to engage in a meaningful dialogue with Russia on European security issues,” the German chancellor told a joint news conference with the leaders of the Baltic states in Berlin.

Olaf Scholz underlined that Western nations are united and ready to impose heavy sanctions against Russia, if Moscow makes further incursions to Ukraine.

“We want to make it very clear that any further military aggression against Ukraine would have serious political, economic, and strategic consequences for Russia,” he stressed.

Russia recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.

The Kremlin also issued a list of security demands from the West, including a rolling back of troop deployments to some ex-Soviet states, and guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia will not join NATO.

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