Vladimir Putin has held a 75-minute phone call with France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz about efforts to ‘end the war’.
The Kremlin did not elaborate on the talks, but the Russian president said yesterday that there had been ‘certain positive shifts’ in negotiations for peace in Ukraine.
Despite the sign of some progress being made, a French presidency official said that Putin still ‘did not appear ready to end the war’.
They added that both France and Germany reiterated their call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine as a condition for full negotiations.
The Kremlin readout of the call with Macron and Scholz did not mention a ceasefire and accused Ukraine of using civilians as human shields.
All three leaders agreed to say nothing further about the details of their phone call.
It is the second time Macron and Scholz have been in touch with the Russian president this week.
They spoke to Putin on Thursday and ‘demanded an immediate ceasefire by Russia’.
Since meeting Putin in the Kremlin on February 7, Macron has spoken over the phone with the Russian leader on nine separate occasions, his office said.
Meanwhile Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky has said both sides have been discussing ‘concrete’ proposals instead of ‘exchanging ultimatums’.
He said Ukraine could not stop fighting to defend its territory but was upholding a ceasefire around an agreed ‘humanitarian corridor’ out of the beseiged southern port of Mariupol.
Zelensky called on Russia to do the same, as Putin’s forces have broken previous ceasefire agreements, firing shells just hours after announcing they would halt fire.
But Moscow has tried blaming Ukraine for the breaches, accusing the country of using civilians as human shields.
On Monday Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, even accused Ukrainians of shelling themselves.
His comments sparked outrage in the international community, leading to comparisons to similar claims made by Bosnian Serb forces when they bombed Sarajevo.