Putin talks to Macron on Ukraine

In a phone call, the two leaders have expressed hope for a peace settlement

During a conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin named three conditions for a peace settlement in Ukraine, including the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea.

According to the Kremlin’s readout of the phone talks, Putin told Macron that Russia was “open to negotiations with representatives of Ukraine.”

Putin stressed, however, that a settlement was possible “only if Russia’s legitimate security interests were unconditionally taken into account,” which includes “the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the fulfillment of the tasks of demilitarizing and denazifying the Ukrainian state and ensuring its neutral status.

The Russian leader also said that his country’s forces have not threatened civilians and have not struck civilian objects.

The threat comes from the Ukrainian nationalists, who use the civilian population as a human shield, deliberately place strike weapon systems in residential areas, and intensified shelling of the cities of Donbass,” the Kremlin said.

As the French presidency said in a statement, Macron “has reiterated the demand by the international community to stop the Russian offensive against Ukraine” and called for an immediate ceasefire.

While negotiations are ongoing between Kiev and Moscow, Macron also named three demands which “have to be respected on the ground.” He called on Russia to “stop all strikes and attacks against civilians and places of residence,” “preserve civil infrastructure,” and “secure the main routes,” including the southern route to Kiev.

According to the Elysee, Putin expressed a “willingness to commit” to these three issues.

The French president also called on his Russian counterpart “to respect the international humanitarian law” as well as the “delivery of aid.

The two leaders agreed to stay in contact “to prevent the situation from worsening.”

The Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine was launched on February 24, with Putin stating a goal of “demilitarizing” the country and protecting the security of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as of Russia itself. Western nations have condemned the attack and imposed harsh economic sanctions on Moscow.

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