Putin, EU leader discuss Ukraine over phone
Moscow, April 23 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Council President, Charles Michel discussed the situation in Ukraine during a phone conversation, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Michel on Friday informed Putin of his contacts with the Ukrainian leadership during a recent trip to Kiev, and the Russian President outlined his assessment of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.
Responding to a call of European Council President to have direct contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Putin reiterated that such a possibility depends on concrete results in the ongoing peace talks, during which "the Ukrainian side is showing inconsistency and is not ready to seek mutually acceptable solutions."
Russia has cancelled an assault on the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant in Ukraine's Mariupol and offered all the resistant forces there an opportunity to lay down arms and "receive decent treatment," the Russian President said.
Putin explained Russia's measures to protect civilians, including the opening of humanitarian corridors.
Michel "strongly urged for immediate humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities all the more on the occasion of Orthodox Easter," he said on Twitter.
He also reiterated the position of the European Union (EU), which supports Ukraine and its sovereignty, and condemns sanctions for Russia's operation, Putin tweeted.
The Russian President criticised the "irresponsible statements" of EU officials about the need to settle the Ukraine issue through military means and their ignoring "numerous war crimes" by the Ukrainian forces, according to the statement.
He also denounced most EU countries' Russophobic policy in the cultural, humanitarian and sports fields.