EU leaders urge Putin to start ‘direct talks’ with Zelensky for peace in Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, calling for cooperation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Putin if Moscow continues its invasion of Ukraine Mir Zelensky for ceasefire and direct talks.

European leaders also pressured Putin to release some 25,000 “Defenders of Azov Stahl captured by Russian troops”. Press release From the French Embassy. Azovstad was the last line of defense for Ukrainian forces until Russia completely took over the port city of Mariupol.

Putin reportedly expressed “the Russian side’s openness to the resumption of dialogue” during the 80-minute call.

Macron and Scholz also expressed an “urgent need to lift the blockade of Odessa” to resume Ukrainian grain exports, the press release added. The Russian blockade is exacerbating food shortages and inflation around the world.

The pair also “actively noted the Russian president’s commitment to treat captured combatants in accordance with international humanitarian law” and “called on the Russian president to ensure improved humanitarian conditions for Ukrainian civilians”. French media agency.

Thousands of civilians were killed in the war, many as a result of Russian bombing of civilian targets. Millions more have fled the country or been internally displaced.

Putin, in turn, warned the West against continuing arms shipments to Ukraine, saying it would lead to “further instability of the situation and aggravation of the humanitarian crisis”. Bloombergciting a Kremlin report.

Just last week, German Chancellor Olaf Schultz said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was global “The turning point.”

“The world is really at a tipping point,” Scholz said at the time. “It’s not just Ukraine that is at risk. This is a system of international cooperation designed after two devastating world wars.”

He added: “This is an attempt to bring us back to a time when war was a common political tool, when neither our continent nor the world had a stable, peaceful order.”

At the same time, Zelensky Visited the front lines of the war In eastern Kharkiv on Sunday, his first appearance outside Kyiv since Moscow’s invasion on February 24.

“I want to thank each of you for your service. You risked your life for all of us and our state. Thank you for defending Ukraine’s independence. Take care of yourself!” Zelensky told the waiter.

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