Berlin- Russia feels increasingly under threat from developments in the Middle East and appears to be serious about cooperating with western countries to resolve the war in Syria, Germany's foreign minister said on Sunday.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are traditionally more friendly towards Moscow than Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, also raised the prospect of welcoming Russia back into the G8 group of countries if it addressed western demands in Ukraine and cooperated in Syria.
The conciliatory message came amid mounting calls from other western capitals to work more closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin in fighting Islamic State (IS) militants.
French President Francois Hollande, who called for a grand coalition of countries to fight IS following the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, is due to travel to Moscow on Thursday to hold talks with Putin.
"We should not underestimate how threatened Russia feels from developments in the Middle East, with its Muslim population of millions," Steinmeier told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
"I believe that Russia has no interest in getting bogged down in Syria over many years and being pulled ever deeper into the war there. My impression is that Russia is looking for an exit from the Syrian catastrophe."