In a joint phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) and French President Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. Putin apparently showed no willingness to end the war against Ukraine. “We didn’t have that impression,” said a Macron adviser in Paris.
In the phone call, Putin accused the Ukrainian military of “flagrant violations” of international humanitarian law. Macron dismissed these accusations as lies.
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According to government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit and the Elysee Palace, Scholz and Macron called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict during the 75-minute phone call. Hebestreit went on to say that the recent tripartite talks are part of ongoing international efforts to end the war in Ukraine.
According to the Elysee Palace, Macron and Scholz also urged the Russian president to end the siege of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. “The situation is very difficult and humanly unacceptable,” the Elysee Palace said. The phone call with Putin was “very open and difficult.” “The only decision President Putin has to make is to lift the siege.”
The Kremlin said Putin briefed Scholz and Macron on “the true situation” in Ukraine. According to this, Putin accused the Ukrainian army of “extrajudicial executions of dissidents”, taking hostages and using civilians as protective shields.
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Putin accused the Ukrainian forces of storing heavy weapons near hospitals, schools and kindergartens. “At the same time, nationalist battalions interfere with rescue operations and intimidate civilians during evacuation attempts,” the Kremlin said. Scholz and Macron called on Putin to influence the Kiev government to stop “these criminal activities.”
Macron then accused Putin of spreading lies, according to the Elysee Palace. At the same time, Macron called for an end to the attacks by the Russian army. Their worst violations could be classified as war crimes, he warned.
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The Kremlin further announced that Putin had also briefed Scholz and Macron on the status of the talks between the Moscow and Kiev negotiating teams. The three politicians also spoke about “issues related to the agreements that are currently being negotiated with a view to realizing the well-known Russian demands.” The Kremlin did not give details.
Both Scholz and Macron previously telephoned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj and learned of his assessment of the current situation. Zelenskyj appealed to both to urge Putin to end the fighting. Russian troops are currently surrounding the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and bombing other cities. (AFP)