Russian President Vladimir Putin called on French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to influence Kiev to force its nationalist battalions to stop committing crimes during a telephone conversation with them today.
Putin namely recalled that these groups have thwarted efforts to evacuate citizens via humanitarian corridors on several occasions. He also cited the numerous incidences of the “flagrant violation” of international humanitarian laws by Ukrainian security forces.
“The interlocutors raised the humanitarian situation in areas affected by the special operation to protect Donbass and Vladimir Putin briefed them on the real state of affairs”, the Kremlin said.
His French and German counterparts, in turn, called on Russia to negotiate a ceasefire in Ukraine. Putin, for his part, notified the two leaders of the results of a recent video conference between the members of the Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams that took place after the third round of talks.
Russian launched a special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February following a request from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to defend them against attacks from nationalist battalions and the Ukrainian military, which had been bombarding the two republics with prohibited 120mm shells during the preceding week. President Vladimir Putin described the goals of the operation as the demilitarisation and de-Nazification of Ukraine.
Western countries condemned the operation, calling it an “invasion”. They have introduced several rounds of harsh sanctions targeting Russia’s financial and aviation spheres, the Central Bank, as well as numerous businessmen and politicians, including Putin himself. Russia has vowed to respond in kind.