BERLIN - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday asked Russia’s Vladimir Putin to hold “direct negotiations” with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

During an 80-minute conversation with the Russian president, the two EU leaders “insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops,” the German chancellor’s office said. Macron and Scholz urged Putin to have “serious direct negotiations with the Ukrainian president and (find) a diplomatic solution to the conflict.” The two European leaders “took positive note of the Russian President’s commitment to treat captured fighters in accordance with international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions, and to ensure unhindered access to the International Committee of the Red Cross”.

The global food supply was also discussed. Putin assured that he “wants to allow the export of grain from Ukraine, especially by sea,” the German chancellery said.

The three leaders also agreed on the “central role” the United Nations has to play to guarantee exports.

 

| Two EU leaders “insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops”