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France: Putin told Macron that Russian forces won’t target Ukrainian civilians

In latest phone call between the two leaders, Kremlin says Russian leader demanded recognition of Crimea annexation, ‘denazification’ of Ukraine as prerequisites to end invasion

This combination of file photographs created on September 14, 2020, shows (left) Russian President Vladimir Putin and France's President Emmanuel Macron (right). (Mikhail Klimentyev and Gonzalo Fuentes/various sources/AFP)
This combination of file photographs created on September 14, 2020, shows (left) Russian President Vladimir Putin and France's President Emmanuel Macron (right). (Mikhail Klimentyev and Gonzalo Fuentes/various sources/AFP)

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to spare civilians in Ukraine, the French leader’s office said in a statement.

Macron’s office said that in a 90-minute phone call he had asked the Russian leader to stop attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and secure major roadways, in particular the road from the south of Kyiv.

“President Putin confirmed his willingness to make commitments on these three points,” the statement said.

Macron also “reiterated the demand of the international community to stop the Russian offensive against Ukraine, and reaffirmed the need to implement an immediate ceasefire,” the Elysee said, but did not give the Russian leader’s response.

Macron also called on Putin to respect international humanitarian law, and allow aid shipments to reach the population, the statement said.

The call was the latest in a series of exchanges between both men in which Macron first sought to prevent the Russian invasion, and then to limit its damage.

This photograph shows a view of a school in Kharkiv, Ukraine, that was destroyed during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, on February 28, 2022. (Sergey Bobok/AFP)

Earlier this month, Macron went to Moscow to talk with Putin in person, returning to Paris with assurances of what he called Putin’s “desire to maintain stability and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

After the latest conversation Monday, Macron suggested the two leaders remain in contact in the coming days “to prevent a worsening of the situation,” to which Putin agreed, the Elysee said.

The Kremlin said Putin told Macron that demilitarization of Ukraine and Western recognition of Russian sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula were prerequisites to ending fighting in Ukraine.

“Vladimir Putin stressed that a settlement is possible only if Russia’s legitimate security interests are unconditionally taken into account, including the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the demilitarization and denazification of the Ukrainian state and ensuring its neutral status,” according to a Kremlin readout of the call.

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