In phone call with Putin, France’s Macron demands end to Russian offensive, cease-fire

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Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel

PARIS:  In a phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron demanded his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin end the Russian war on Ukraine and implement an immediate cease-fire, the Elysee announced on Monday.

The call was made at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and took into account the humanitarian situation, the statement said. Putin has refused to hold direct talks with Zelenskyy since he launched military strikes on Ukraine last week.

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Working to act as an international mediator, Macron “reiterated the international community’s demand to end the Russian offensive against Ukraine, and insisted on the need to implement a cease-fire immediately.”

On Twitter, he said he also appealed to Putin to halt strikes and attacks on civilians, residence, civilian infrastructure, and roads.

The Kremlin has agreed to protect civilians and the civilian infrastructure, according to a BFMTV report quoting Elysee officials.

Macron-Zelenskyy talks

Since last Thursday the war has claimed the lives of over 350 Ukrainian civilians including children and wounded more than 1,600, and displaced at least 3 million people, according to Ukraine’s Health Ministry.

The exchange took place as Russia-Ukraine talks began at the Belarusian border. Ukrainian authorities have demanded an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from their territory.

During the hour-and-a-half call, Macron urged Putin to respect international humanitarian law, protect civilians, and authorize the delivery of humanitarian aid. He said France will bring a resolution to the UN Security Council towards this end.

Macron suggested Putin “stay in touch in the coming days” to “resume discussions.”

Macron also spoke with Zelenskyy on “several occasions in recent hours” and praised his “sense of responsibility” in view of the negotiations even as Ukraine remains under attack, the statement added.– AA

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