French President Emmanuel Macron with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, earlier this month (Image courtesy: Twitter/@EmmanuelMacron)
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he is still trying to find ways and means to calm tensions and end hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
Macron said that he had a "frank, direct, very quick" exchange with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the request of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday.
This was the first call made by Macron to Putin since Russia launched a special military operation in the Donbass region on Thursday.
Macron said that he asked Putin to "stop the fighting as soon as possible" and also conveyed the message from the President of Ukraine – "who could not reach him" – to hold discussions.
"You can clearly see it for the moment, since the Russian president has chosen war, but I think it is my responsibility first to take such initiatives when they are requested by Ukraine and then, while condemning, while sanctioning, while continuing to act, to leave this path open so that the day when the conditions can be met, we can obtain a cessation of hostilities for the Ukrainians and for the Ukrainians," the French media quoted Macron as saying after the phone call with Putin.
The Kremlin said that during a telephone conversation organised "at the initiative of the French side", Putin and Macron had "a serious and frank exchange" of views on the situation around Ukraine.
"Vladimir Putin gave an exhaustive explanation of the reasons and circumstances for the decision to conduct a special military operation," said the Russian President's office.