(Bloomberg) -- Western allies are pushing ahead with diplomatic efforts to avert war between Russia and Ukraine, after U.S. President Joe Biden held what he described as a “great” call with European leaders on Monday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss the crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin on Tuesday evening, and Pierre Vimont, Macron’s Russia adviser, will be in Moscow to present proposals for deescalation.

Russia has massed thousands of troops, tanks and equipment near the Ukraine border and the U.S. and its allies say it could be preparing for military action. Moscow has denied it intends to invade.

Key Developments:

  • U.S. says 8,500 troops are on alert for deployment
  • Biden has ‘great meeting’ with European leaders
  • Germany holds firm on policy of not arming Ukraine
  • Australia tells citizens in Ukraine to “leave now”

All times local (CET).

Latvia Says Russia Rejected Inspection Request (8:30 a.m.)

Russia last week rejected a request from Latvia to inspect military drills, citing restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, according to the defense ministry in Riga.

“This refusal is not understandable in a situation where Russia is massively concentrating its troops on the Ukrainian border, while at the same time claiming that it has no plans to invade,” Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said. “The excuse of Covid-19 restrictions suggests that Russia has something to hide and that it does not want to reveal the true size and intentions of its military activities, as foreseen under OSCE cooperation,” he added.

Ukraine Ambassador Repeats Call for German Support (8:30 a.m.)

Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin repeated a call for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to supply it with “defensive weapons,” making a direct appeal to Germans on a morning television show.

“We have the right to self-defense so we hope that the Germans will wake up and realize that we’re facing the biggest threat since World War II,” Ambassador Andriy Melnyk said on ZDF TV. “We have to show Russia that Ukraine is ready and armed.”

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