Putin, Macron discuss situation in Ukraine over phone

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron held a phone conversation to continue discussions of the situation in Ukraine, shortly after a new round of Moscow-Kiev peace talks ended in Istanbul, Turkey.

Putin and Macron paid particular attention to humanitarian issues in Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a Kremlin statement.

Putin informed Macron of measures being taken by the Russian military to provide emergency humanitarian assistance and ensure the safe evacuation of civilians, including from the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

Putin stressed that in order to resolve the difficult humanitarian situation in Mariupol, “Ukrainian nationalist militants must stop resistance and lay down their arms,” the statement said.

The presidents also touched upon Russia’s decision to shift to payments in rubles for its natural gas supplied to “unfriendly” countries and regions, particularly to the European Union, according to the statement.

Russia and Ukraine concluded their latest round of face-to-face peace talks in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul Tuesday.

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