Ukraine conflict: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer accuses Vladimir Putin of provocation

"My impression is that the Russian side is trying everything to provoke reactions," she said in the ARD "Morgenmagazin". "And we don't want to get involved in this game with Ukraine."

In eastern Ukraine there has been increased fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the government army since mid-February. Kiev's western allies are also concerned about the recent relocation of Russian troops to the Ukrainian border. Moscow speaks of "combat training".

Kramp-Karrenbauer doubts the Russian representation

Kramp-Karrenbauer questioned this representation. "If it is, as the Russian side says, that it is a maneuver - there are internationally prescribed procedures for creating transparency and trust," she said on ARD. This did not happen.

The situation in eastern Ukraine is being observed "very carefully", "also with concern," said the minister. She assured "that we will do everything we can to ensure that nothing here escalates". Ukraine has so far reacted in a very “prudent” manner, and for that it is grateful, said Kramp-Karrenbauer.

She stressed that the Born stand on the side of Kiev. "We are committed to Ukraine, that is very clear." It is also clear that the Russian President Wladimir Putin "Waiting for a step towards NATO, so to speak, in order to have an excuse to continue acting."

For almost seven years, parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions along the Russian border have been under the control of rebels loyal to Moscow. According to UN estimates, more than 13.000 people have been killed since then. Around 50 people have died in the conflict area since the beginning of the year alone. A peace plan agreed in 2015 is on hold.

Chancellor had already last week Angela Merkel during a phone call with the President Putin zu called for a withdrawal of troops. Previously, reports of troop deployments by the Russian army on the border with the eastern Ukrainian conflict area had raised fears that the fighting would escalate.