Western countries need to stop providing weapons to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.
Accusing Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes and claiming the EU was “ignoring” them, Putin told Macron “the West could help stop these atrocities by putting relevant pressure on the Kyiv authorities, as well as halting the supply of weapons to Ukraine.”
Putin also said Kyiv was not being consistent or ready for “serious work” on ending the conflict.
“The Russian side is still open to dialogue,” the Russian leader told Macron, according to the Kremlin readout.
Macron’s Elysee Palace office said that beyond reiterating calls on Russia to end the assault on its neighbor with a ceasefire and peace talks, he had urged Putin to allow evacuations from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in port city Mariupol to continue.
He also offered to “work with the relevant international organizations to help lift the Russian blockade on Ukrainian food exports via the Black Sea, given its consequences for global food security.”
For his part, Putin linked the food situation to Western sanctions against Russia and “noted the importance of the unimpeded functioning of the global logistics and transport infrastructure,” the Kremlin said.
Macron is one of the few Western leaders to speak to since Putin Moscow moved troops into Ukraine on February 24, spending hours on telephone calls trying to negotiate a resolution to the conflict.
The conflict has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 13 million, creating the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.