Despite the difficulties faced by the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that his country remains open to dialogue with Kyiv.
The Kremlin announced that Putin assured Macron in a phone call, today, Tuesday, that the Ukrainian authorities are not serious during the negotiations.
He also called on the West to stop handing over weapons to Ukraine, saying that Western countries can help end “war crimes and the intense bombing of towns and residential communities in Donbass, in southeastern Ukraine, which leads to civilian casualties,” as he put it.
Meanwhile, the Elysee Palace announced that the call between Macron and his Russian counterpart lasted two hours, explaining that the initiative came from the French president, following a call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last Saturday.
He also said that Macron had asked Putin to continue the evacuations from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
It is noteworthy that the last call between the Russian and French presidents was on March 29, although they spoke periodically in the first weeks following the Russian military operation on Ukrainian territory on February 24.
Ongoing French support for Kiev
Macron, who was re-elected on April 24, as President of France for a second term, had held numerous talks with both Zelensky and Putin since the start of the Russian operation, with the aim of reaching a solution, but his efforts did not lead to a halt in the fighting.
While France, like many European countries, has repeatedly confirmed its strong support for Kiev since last February, and its assistance with weapons and equipment, as well as imposing many sanctions on Moscow.
While the issue of the West’s arming of Ukraine has raised great sensitivity to the Kremlin, which adheres to the neutrality of the western neighbor, considering that arming the Ukrainian authorities with advanced weapons constitutes a threat to Russian security.
Since the launch of the Russian military operation on February 24, the two sides have conducted many rounds of negotiations, whether direct or online, but none of them have come to fruition so far!