Dialogue channels must be kept open, Macron says over Ukraine situation

The channels of dialogue must be kept open so that a ceasefire can be achieved, French President Emmanuel Macron said over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We have to keep channels open so that a ceasefire can be achieved as soon as possible,” Macron said early Friday morning after an extraordinary meeting of the European Union (EU) leaders to address the situation in Ukraine.

The French President spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on telephone this Thursday. According to the Kremlin, both sides had a “serious and frank” exchange of views on the situation around Ukraine. It added that Putin gave “comprehensive explanations of the reasons and circumstances for the decision to conduct a special military operation.”

The call was “frank, direct, rapid,” said Macron, who also conveyed to Putin a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, asking for a ceasefire and start of discussions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Zelensky had spoken to the gathered EU Heads of state earlier on Thursday and claimed he couldn’t reach the Russian President himself.

“I think it is my responsibility to take such initiatives when asked by Ukraine. And also, while condemning, sanctioning and continuing to act to keep this door open, so that the day conditions are met we can obtain a cessation of hostilities for the people of Ukraine,” said Macron.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday said the Russian Armed Forces have disabled 118 military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine after President Putin authorised “a special military operation” in Donbas.

In a televised speech to the country earlier on Thursday, the Russian President said, “Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force,” noting that Russia’s move is in response to “fundamental threats” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which has expanded to eastern Europe and brought its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.

Moscow has expressed its willingness to talk with Kiev with a focus on obtaining a guarantee of neutral status and non-deployment of offensive weapons in Ukraine.

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