German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this afternoon as part of last-ditch efforts to defuse the escalating Russian-Ukrainian conflict, a government spokesman said Monday.

“The federal chancellor will also be on the phone with the Russian President in the late afternoon,” Steffen Hebestreit told journalists in Berlin.

“It is also closely involved by and coordinated with French President (Emmanuel Macron) amid all the diplomatic efforts to avert a catastrophe there (Ukraine),” he added.

In other related news, Hebestreit hailed US diplomatic efforts for a summit between the US president and his Russian counterpart.

“The federal (German) government welcomes the fact that US President Joe Biden has offered a direct meeting with Russia’s president and the federal government hopes that Russia will also accept this offer,” he said.

“It would now be important to start making the necessary preparations so that such a summit can take place as soon as possible,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron held several phone calls with Putin and Biden on Sunday to de-escalate tensions and organize a summit to avert a war in Ukraine.

Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not rule out a new meeting between Putin and Biden, but told reporters on Monday that there are no “concrete plans” yet for such a summit.

Scholz warned Russia over the weekend that a military attack on neighboring Ukraine would have severe consequences for the Kremlin.

“A military aggression against Ukraine would be a serious mistake. There is no justification for the deployment of over 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border,” Scholz told the Munich Security Conference.

“War is threatening again in Europe, and the risk is anything but averted,” he added.

Scholz made clear Russia would pay a high price “politically, economically and geostrategically” if it attacks Ukraine.

The German chancellor stressed that there is still room for a diplomatic solution to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

“We are ready to negotiate, however basic principles are not up for discussion,” he reiterated.

Last week, Scholz visited Ukraine and Russia to help lower escalating tensions as Western intelligence officials warn that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasingly imminent.

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