Russia to achieve its objectives in Ukraine ‘in any case,’ Putin tells Macron

Moscow demands demilitarization, neutral status of Ukraine, Russian president tells French counterpart in phone call.

Russia to achieve its objectives in Ukraine ‘in any case,’ Putin tells Macron

In a phone call, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that the objectives of Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine will be “achieved in any case,” a Kremlin statement said.

"It was noted that during the special operation to protect Donbas, Russia intends to continue the uncompromising fight against the militants of nationalist armed formations who commit war crimes, including placing military equipment in residential areas and using civilians as human shields," the statement said.

Putin accused France of doing “absolutely nothing” to force Kyiv to implement the terms of the Minsk Agreement.

"In addition, the long-term genocide against civilians of Donbas, which led to numerous human casualties and forced hundreds of thousands of people to seek refuge in Russia, is being hushed up," the statement claimed.

The Russian president, it said, outlined Russia's conditions at negotiations with representatives of Ukraine, and said Moscow demands the demilitarization and neutral status of Ukraine.

"It was stressed that the tasks of the special military operation will be achieved in any case, and attempts to gain time by delaying negotiations will only lead to the fact that additional requirements for Kyiv will appear in Russia's negotiating position," the statement noted.

Describing reports that said Russia is targeting Kyiv and other cities with missile attacks as “disinformation,” Putin said the Russian armed forces are “using high-precision weapons, and destroy only military infrastructure.”

The Russian leader also expressed readiness to cooperate "with foreign partners" to ensure the safe evacuation of foreign citizens from the territory of Ukraine.

Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has met international outrage with the EU, US and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

According to UN figures, 227 civilians have been killed and 525 injured in Ukraine since the start of the war. Ukrainian authorities, however, put the death toll at over 2,000.

More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, the UN Refugee Agency said.

Hüseyin Demir

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