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Putin again discuss situation in Ukraine with Macron and Scholz

Written by The Frontier Post

MOSCOW. (TASS): Russi-an President Putin, his French counterpart Emma-nuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held a trilateral telephone conversation for the first time since mid-March. Acc-ording to the German authorities, it took place at the initiative of Berlin and Paris and lasted about 80 minutes.
The main topics of the conversation, the Kremlin said on Saturday, were the situation in Ukraine and global food security: Putin emphasized openness to resuming dialogue with Kyiv and readiness to increase exports of agricultural products and fertilizers, subject to the lifting of sanctions. The press secretary of the Russian leader Dmitry Peskov said that Putin, Macron and Scholz agreed to continue to maintain contacts by phone.
The leaders of Russia, Germany and France called in a trilateral format for the first time in 11 weeks – their previous conversation took place on March 12. Then the main topics were the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and the negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv.
Putin called up Macron and Scholz separately relatively recently: he spoke with the first on May 3, shortly after the re-election of the French president for a second term, and with the German chancellor on May 13. The conversation took place against the backdrop of increased contacts betw-een Moscow and Western countries after a two-week pause: on Thursday, Putin spoke with Italian Prime Minister Draghi, and on Friday with Austrian Chancellor Nehammer.
One of the main topics of the conversation was the situation in Ukraine. Acco-rding to the Kremlin, Putin “informed” his colleagues in detail about the “recent developments”, stressed the observance of international humanitarian norms by the Russian military and spoke about the establishment of a peaceful life in the liberated cities of Donbass, including Mariupol.
Macron and Scholz called on Putin to release the Ukrainian military and security forces who surrendered last week at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace. In total, over 2.4 thousand people laid down their arms at the enterprise, including militants of the Azov nationalist formation.
The Russian leader, according to the Kremlin, also “pointed to the issue” of pumping Ukraine with Western weapons, warning that this could lead to further destabilization of the situation and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, and confirmed Moscow’s openness to resuming dialogue with Kyiv, which remains “in a frozen state” on the fault of the latter.
At the same time, Macr-on and Scholz, according to German government spok-esman Steffen Hebestreit, “insisted on the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Rus-sian troops” and called on Putin “for serious direct ne-gotiations” with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
Another important topic was the deteriorating food situation in the world, which Putin has already discussed with the leaders of Austria and Italy. In a conversation with Macron and Scholz, he confirmed the Russian position: supply problems were the result of the mistakes of the West and its sanctions against Moscow, which is ready to facilitate the unhindered export of Ukrainian grain from the ports on the Black Sea and increase its own supplies, including fertilizers.
The latter, the Kremlin stressed, “of course, will require the removal of the relevant sanctions restrictions.” It is not specified which sanctions are being referred to, but earlier the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov explained to journalists that they meant “those illegal decisions that prevent the charter of ships, the export of grain, and so on.”
According to Hebestreit, Putin “declared his intention to allow the export of grain from Ukraine”, inclu-ding by sea, and all three agreed that the UN should play a central role in the relevant agreements.
“The chancellor and the French president at the same time insisted on the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. They called on the Russian president to have serious direct negotiations with the Ukrainian president and search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict,” Hebeshtreit said. He specified that the conversation took place on the initiative of the leaders of Germany and France. The representative of the German Cabinet also said that Scholz and Macron “positively assessed the promise of the Russian president to treat the captured combatants in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law, in particular, the Geneva Convention, as well as to provide unhindered access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
He said the chancellor and the presidents also discussed the global food supply situation, which Berlin believes has become particularly tense, allegedly be-cause of Russia’s special o-peration in Ukraine. “Pres-ident Putin has announced his intention to allow grain exports from Ukraine, esp-ecially by sea,” Hebeshtreit said. “President Putin pro-mised that Russia would n-ot use for military operations the opening of a mine belt created to protect Ukrainian ports in order to export grain on ships,” he said.

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