France and Germany on Saturday urged Russia’s Vladimir Putin to end the deadly days-long siege of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the French presidency said after three-way talks.
“The situation is very difficult and humanly intolerable” in Mariupol, a source at the Elysee presidential palace said, after what it called a “very frank and difficult discussion” with the Russian leader.
“The only decision President Putin has to make is to lift the siege.”
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office also accused Putin of “lies” for alleging that Ukrainian troops committed human rights abuses by using civilians as human shields.
The 75-minute phone call with Macron, Russian leader and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz centered on France and Germany’s call for an immediate ceasefire and steps toward a diplomatic solution, French officials said. and German leadership offices.
Macron told Putin that “the abuses of the Russian military must stop,” the source said, warning that his actions could be classified as war crimes.
They said the two leaders had met separately with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky prior to the meeting, who asked them to call on Putin to end the fighting.
Russian troops approach the Ukrainian capital Kiev and bomb several other cities. The offensive has driven millions of Ukrainians from their homes.
Zelensky also asked leaders to help release the mayor of the city of Melitpol, who he says was kidnapped by Russian troops.
“We are putting maximum pressure and we will not give up,” said the French presidency.
Macron demanded “very forcefully that the conflict end as soon as possible to avoid the worst, including (Russia) resorting to illegal weapons or destroying cities,” it added.
US President Joe Biden vowed Friday that Russia would pay a “heavy price” if it used chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Macron has played a leading role in his efforts to engage with Putin over Russia’s offensive.
The Elysee says he has had nine conversations with the Russian leader since meeting him in the Kremlin on Feb. 7. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)