3 Mar 2022 16:48

Putin tells Macron of talks with Kyiv, focus on Ukraine's demilitarization, neutral status - Kremlin

MOSCOW. March 3 (Interfax) - A frank discussion of the situation around Ukraine was continued during a telephone conversation on Thursday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, the Kremlin stated.

"Putin set out in detail the principled approaches and conditions in the context of the talks with Kyiv's representatives. It was confirmed that [the talks] focused primarily on the demilitarization and neutral status of Ukraine, so that no threat would ever emanate from its territory to the Russian Federation," the statement said.

It was stressed that the "objectives of the special military operation will be fulfilled any way, and that the attempts to play for time by dragging out the talks will only lead to our negotiating position presenting Kyiv with further demands," it said.

"It was especially emphasized that during the special operation, which is going to plan, the Russian Armed Forces are doing everything possible to preserve the lives of peaceful citizens. Precision weapons are only being used to destroy military infrastructure. Allegations of rocket attacks and bombardments of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities are inconsistent with reality and are elements of the anti-Russia disinformation campaign," the statement said.

"[Putin] reaffirmed the readiness of the Russian side for interaction with its foreign partners for the purposes of resolving acute humanitarian problems" and "called on the president of France to join efforts to ensure the safe withdrawal of foreign citizens from Ukraine. Thus, he mentioned a large group of Indian students in Kharkiv, who are effectively being held hostage by Ukrainian forces. Emmanuel Macron promised to do the relevant work with Kyiv's leadership," the statement said.