By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) -German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet U.S. President Joe Biden on Feb. 7 at the White House to discuss tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Washington said on Thursday.
The leaders would “discuss their shared commitment to both ongoing diplomacy and joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“They will also discuss the importance of continued close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security.”
Scholz’s office confirmed the visit but declined to give any details.
Russia has massed troops near Ukraine’s border but says it does not plan to invade. The United States has spent weeks trying to build agreement with European partners on a strong sanctions package if Russia attacks.
The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany will not move forward if Russia invades Ukraine.
Europe’s most divisive energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine, on the bed of the Baltic Sea.
It has faced resistance from the United States and from within the European Union on the grounds that it increases Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and denies Ukraine transit fees, at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Andreas Rinke in Berlin; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Victoria Waldersee and Andrew Heavens)