Moscow (The Times Groupe)- Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Tuesday the West could help end the war in Ukraine by putting more pressure on the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and stopping supply weapons to Kyiv.
Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone for the first time in over a month.
France’s leader called for a ceasefire and talks to end the war brought about by Russia’s invasion.
Macron asked Russian leader to allow further evacuations in the city of Mariupol.
Hundreds of civilians have been trapped under the rubble of a steelworks held by Ukrainian forces in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol during the bitterest fighting of the war.
Ukraine has been extensively armed by Western countries in its fight against Russia, and the UK pledged new military equipment worth £300m ($376m) on Tuesday, including electronic warfare equipment, a radar system, GPS jammers, and night vision devices.
Since the invasion on 24 February, thousands of people, including combatants and civilians, have been killed or injured, and more than 5.5 million have fled abroad.
The Russians have pulled back from the area of the capital Kyiv to focus their operations on eastern Ukraine.
According to a Kremlin statement, Putin called for a halt to arms supplies and accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by bombarding towns in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed separatists control large areas.
The separatist-controlled areas have been subjected to a number of attacks on residential areas since the invasion began, but nothing on the scale of the shelling of government-held towns by Russian forces. The Ukrainian government denies shelling residential areas.
Bucha, a town outside Kyiv, has been accused of atrocities committed by Russian forces.
The Russian leader said Russia was open to dialogue with Ukraine.
In a statement, the Élysée Palace said Macron called on Putin to put an end to Russia’s “war of aggression” and added that he was ready to assist in achieving a negotiated solution that respected Ukraine’s sovereignty.
The French president, who won re-election last month, has spoken with Putin several times since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Macron said he was willing to work with “competent international organizations” to lift the Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports so it could resume food exports.