Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of France Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy during the Normandy format summit at the Elyse Palace in Paris in December 2019 (File photo courtesy: Kremlin.ru)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that "despite Kyiv's inconsistency and unpreparedness for serious work", Moscow is still open to dialogue to resolve the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
In a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening, Putin also accused the European Union member states of ignoring the "war crimes" of the Ukrainian security forces.
This was the first interaction between the two leaders after Macron was re-elected as head of state after his victory in the recent presidential elections.
Both Presidents have exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine several times since February 24, the day Russia began its 'special military operation' in the neighbouring country.
As Putin congratulated Macron on his election triumph, he detailed the course of the military operation, including the liberation of Mariupol and the evacuation of civilians "held by the nationalists" at the Azovstal plant in accordance with the agreement reached at a meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres on April 26.
"Attention is drawn to the ignoring by the EU member states of the war crimes of the Ukrainian security forces, massive shelling of cities and towns of Donbass, as a result of which civilians die. It was noted that the West could help stop these atrocities by exerting an appropriate influence on the Kyiv authorities, as well as stopping the supply of weapons to Ukraine," the Kremlin said in a statement after the Putin-Macron phone call.
It added that the President of Russia outlined the fundamental approaches to negotiating with Ukrainian representatives, emphasizing that, "despite Kyiv's inconsistency and unpreparedness for serious work, the Russian side is still open to dialogue".
Macron, who had also spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on April 30, underlined once again the extreme gravity of the consequences of the ongoing war.
Renewing his demand for a ceasefire, the French President expressed his deep concern about Mariupol and the situation in Donbass. He called on Russia to allow the continuation of the evacuations of the Azovstal plant started in recent days, in coordination with humanitarian actors and leaving the choice to the evacuees of their destination, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
"He also expressed his availability to work with the competent international organizations to help lift the Russian blockade of Ukrainian food exports through the Black Sea in view of its consequences on world food security," the Elysee Palace said in a statement after the two leaders' phone talks.
France also called on Russia to "live up to its responsibilities" as a permanent member of the Security Council by putting an end to this "devastating aggression" as Macron marked his "continued readiness" to work on the conditions of a negotiated solution to allow peace and full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
While Macron was concerned about the emerging problem of ensuring global food security, Putin made it clear that the situation remains "complicated primarily due to the sanctions measures of Western countries", and noted the importance of the unimpeded functioning of the global logistics and transport infrastructure.