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France and Germany urge Russia to end seige of Mariupol

After three-way talks on Saturday, France and Germany urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the deadly days-long siege of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, according to the French President.

A source in the Elysee presidential palace stated, “The situation is humanly intolerable and very difficult ” in Mariupol, after what it termed a “very frank and difficult discussion” with the Russian President.

“The only decision President Putin must take is to lift the siege.” The office of French President Emmanuel Macron also accused Putin of “lies” for alleging that Ukrainian soldiers had committed human rights abuses by using civilians as human shields.

While speaking on the phone with the leaders of France and Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticised what he called Ukraine’s forces’ “flagrant violation” of international humanitarian law.

According to sources in the French and German leaders’ offices, the 75-minute three-way phone call with Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz focused on France and Germany’s desire for an immediate ceasefire and measures toward a diplomatic solution.

Russian forces are closing in on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, and shelling several other cities. Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the offensive.

Moreover, Zelensky also asked the leaders to assist in the release of Melitpol’s mayor, who he claims has been abducted by the Russian military.

The French presidency stated, “We are putting on maximum pressure, and we will not let up.”

Furthermore, US President Joe Biden said on Friday that if Russia used nuclear weapons in Ukraine, then Russia would face the consequences and have to pay a “heavy price.”

Macron has taken the initiative in an attempt to reach out to Putin over Russia’s offensive.

The Elysee says he has had 9 conversations with the Russian leader since meeting him at the Kremlin on February 7. Russia started its military operation against Ukraine on February 24.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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