Western leaders consider the Russian troop build-up on its border with Ukraine to be the worst threat to the continent's security since the Cold War.

Tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the West escalated over the weekend  over fears of an imminent Russian invasion.
Tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the West escalated over the weekend over fears of an imminent Russian invasion. (AP)

Germany has said it was up to Russia to de-escalate the conflict around Ukraine, calling for Moscow to withdraw its troops, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz readied to meet President Vladimir Putin over the crisis.

"The situation is particularly dangerous and can escalate at any moment," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement on Tuesday, ahead of the talks in Moscow between the two leaders.

"The responsibility for de-escalation is clearly with Russia, and it is for Moscow to withdraw its troops," she said.

"The EU and NATO are united around Ukraine," she said, adding that "we must use all opportunities for dialogue in order to reach a peaceful solution."

Scholz's talks with Putin at the Kremlin are the latest in an intense diplomatic scramble to dissuade the Russian leader from attacking his ex-Soviet neighbour Ukraine.

Ukraine’s NATO membership issue not on agenda

"We are ready for a serious dialogue with Russia on European security issues," Scholz said on Monday.

Scholz announced new credit of $170 million from Germany to Ukraine on the same day and said the West was ready to impose "very far-reaching and effective sanctions" if Russia violated Ukraine's territorial integrity

The German chancellor also said that discussions on Ukraine’s possible membership to NATO was practically not an issue on the agenda.

READ MORE: Ukraine to pursue 'NATO membership goal' despite Russia's anger

Tensions escalated

Tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the West escalated over the weekend after Western media reports claimed that Moscow could launch an attack on Ukraine on Wednesday.

Western leaders consider the Russian troop build-up on its border with Ukraine to be the worst threat to the continent's security since the Cold War and have prepared a crippling package of economic sanctions in response to any attack on its neighbour.

The Russian leader and his top aides have consistently argued that the current crisis is the result of the United States and western Europe ignoring Moscow's legitimate security concerns.

READ MORE: Ukraine declares 'day of unity' for February 16 over possible 'invasion'

Source: TRTWorld and agencies