As the tensions in Ukraine reach a critical phase, German chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Kyiv and Moscow on Monday and Tuesday (14 and 15 February) in a bid to prevent the outbreak of war and bring Russia back to the negotiation table.

The situation at the Russo-Ukrainian border is reportedly nearing climax. US officials stated on Friday that war is “imminent” and could start as soon as Wednesday – only one day after Scholz visits the Kremlin.

“No one knows what will happen on Wednesday,” a high-ranking German government official told journalists on Sunday. “What I can promise you is that on Wednesday, our diplomatic efforts and those of our partners will certainly continue unabated and intensively,” he added.

While government sources say that Berlin does not expect the trip to yield immediate results or spin the situation on its head, Scholz hopes that the continuation of diplomatic efforts could prevent further escalation.

“It is our task to make sure that we prevent any war in Europe from taking place,” the Chancellor stressed in an address to the Federal Council on Friday.

However, alarm bells are already ringing in Berlin. After the warning of the US government, Germany has asked its citizens on Saturday to leave Ukraine as soon as possible and announced that it would move most of its embassy staff out of the country.

While the German government is “aware that such steps could be perceived as an alarm signal”, the decision was based on safety considerations, not political, government sources said.