Putin tells Macron West should stop arming Ukraine

Posted by MSN | one year ago

AFP A Ukrainian soldier with an anti-tank rocket launcher

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the West could help end the war in Ukraine by putting more pressure on President Volodymyr Zelensky and halting arms deliveries to his forces. 

Mr Putin was speaking in his first telephone talks in more than a month with French President Emmanuel Macron. 

The French leader again called for a ceasefire and for talks to end the war brought on by Russia's invasion.

He asked Mr Putin to allow further evacuations in the city of Mariupol.

The city has seen some of the bitterest fighting of the war and hundreds of civilians are believed to remain trapped under the rubble of a steelworks held by Ukrainian forces.

Western states have armed Ukraine extensively in its fight against Russia, and on Tuesday the UK announced a further pledge of military equipment worth £300m ($376m) including electronic warfare equipment, a radar system, GPS jammers and night-vision devices.

Thousands of people, both combatants and civilians, have been killed or injured since the invasion on 24 February and more than 5.5 million have fled abroad as refugees.

Russian forces have pulled back from the region of the capital Kyiv to focus their operations on eastern Ukraine.

Calling for a stop to arms supplies, Mr Putin accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by bombarding towns in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed separatists control large areas, according to a Kremlin statement.

A number of attacks on residential areas have been recorded in separatist-controlled areas since the invasion began but nothing on the scale of the shelling of government-held towns by Russian forces. Ukraine denies shelling residential areas.

Russian forces have been accused of carrying out atrocities, including in Bucha, a town outside Kyiv.

The Russian leader insisted Russia was open to dialogue with Ukraine.

According to a statement by the Élysée Palace, Mr Macron called on Mr Putin to put an end to Russia's "war of aggression" and said he was ready to help achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict which respected Ukraine's sovereignty.

The French president, who won re-election last month, has spoken to Mr Putin several times since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He said he was available to work with "competent international organisations" to help lift Russia's blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports so that it could resume food exports.

Source: MSN


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