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Putin accuses Ukraine of ‘numerous war crimes committed daily’

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at a concert marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2022. (Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at a concert marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2022. (Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses Kyiv of “war crimes” in a call with his French counterpart, saying that Moscow was doing “everything possible” to avoid civilian deaths in Ukraine.

“Attention was drawn to the numerous war crimes committed daily by the Ukrainian security forces,” the Kremlin says of the call between Putin and Emmanuel Macron, which lasted over an hour.

“In particular massive rocket and artillery attacks on the cities of Donbas,” the Kremlin adds, referring to Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east, part of which is controlled by pro-Moscow separatists.

Putin tells Macron the Russian army is “doing everything possible to safeguard the lives of peaceful civilians, including by organizing humanitarian corridors for their safe evacuation,” the Kremlin says.

Both leaders also discuss ongoing talks between Moscow and Kyiv to end the conflict in Ukraine in the telephone call, which was a “French initiative,” it says.

Macron expresses his “extreme concern” over the fate of Ukraine’s Mariupol, urging “a lifting of the siege and humanitarian access” to the city.

During the latest of several telephone calls between the two leaders since Russia’s invasion began three weeks ago, Macron “again demanded the immediate respect of a cease-fire” in Ukraine, Macron’s office says.

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