French President Emmanuel Macron called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine during a phone call on Monday.
The French presidential office announced that Macron asked Putin to implement an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, stop all attacks on civilians, and maintain the country’s infrastructure, and the Russian President expressed his acceptance of the request.
In contrast, however, a statement released from the Kremlin indicates that Putin would only agree to Macron’s request if “Russia’s legitimate security interests are taken into account.” These interests include, it says, “a recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, and a resolution of the objectives of demilitarization and denazification of the Ukrainian state and ensuring it has a neutral status.”
The conversation between Macron and Putin comes as the talks between Russia and Ukraine, which took place in Belarus, ended on Monday.
Macron calls on Putin to end war in Ukraine as Ukraine-Russia talks end
Delegations from Ukraine and Russia will return to the capital cities of their countries in order to discuss the talks and determine how to proceed.
“Ukrainian and Russian delegations held the first round of negotiations,” Mikhaylo Podolyak, an advisor to the Ukrainian President, stated to CNN.
“Their main goal was to discuss ceasefire and the end of combat actions on the territory of Ukraine. The parties have determined the topics where certain decisions were mapped out. In order for these decisions to be implemented as roadmap, the parties are returning for consultations to their capitals. The parties discussed holding another round of negotiations where these decisions can develop,” Podolyak added.
As the talks ended, reports of a Russian bombing campaign in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, began to circulate. Dozens of people were reportedly killed in these rocket attacks, according to Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky formally requested that his country be inducted into the European Union on Monday.
In a video address in front of reporters, the Ukrainian leader stated “We appeal to the European Union for the immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure. We are grateful to our partners for being with us. But our goal is to be with all Europeans, and most importantly, to be equal.”
In an earlier appeal, videotaped on February 26, Zelensky had first asked for the EU to use its powers to allow Ukraine to join its ranks. “I say this as honestly as possible,” he implored, “the people of Ukraine have already earned and have the right to gain membership in the European Union.