Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz against increasing arms supplies to Ukraine, saying it could lead to further instability.
The Kremlin said Putin made the remarks in a three-pronged telephone call with French and German leaders on Saturday, warning against the continued supply of Western weapons to Ukraine and blaming the conflict on the blockade of global food supplies by Western sanctions.
Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz talked on the phone with Putin for about 80 minutes.
The pair “immediately demanded a ceasefire and withdrew Russian troops,” the chancellor’s office said.
According to the Kremlin, the Russian leader said Moscow was open to resuming talks with Kyiv. It did not mention the possibility of direct talks between Putin and his Ukrainian rival, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in the aftermath of the Russian military offensive took place directly and via video link, but have recently stalled.
The French presidency added that Macron and Scholz had asked Putin to release 2,500 Ukrainian fighters trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and later surrendered to Russian forces.
Putin said the difficulties in supplying grain to world markets were the result of the wrong economic and economic policies of Western countries.
Russia is ready to help find options for the uninterrupted export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports, “Putin told the Kremlin.
“The increase in the supply of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products will help reduce tensions in the global food market and, of course, the need to remove relevant sanctions.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Western blockade have disrupted the supply of fertilizer, wheat and other goods from both countries, raising concerns about the risk of famine and starvation around the world.
Russia and Ukraine produce about 30 percent of the global wheat supply.
Putin’s renewed warning about Western weapons comes as Ukrainian officials are pressing Western nations for more sophisticated and powerful weapons to compete with Russia’s firepower in the ongoing attack on the Donbas, especially for multiple launch rocket systems.
The U.S. Department of Defense on Friday did not confirm a media report claiming that the administration of US President Joe Biden was preparing to send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine.
The Biden administration and its allies are providing Ukraine with more sophisticated and versatile weapons to counter Russian occupying forces, including long-range weapons such as the M777 howitzers. On May 11, the US House of Representatives passed a $ 40 billion aid package for Ukraine, including $ 8.7 billion to replenish U.S. arms shipments to Ukraine.
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