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Scholz demands ceasefire in first call with Putin after 6 weeks

DPA WORLD
Published May 13,2022
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz demanded a ceasefire in Ukraine as soon as possible in a 75-minute telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, according to a government spokesperson.

Scholz also called for an improvement of the humanitarian situation and progress in efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said.

Scholz rejected Russia's accusation that Nazism is widespread in Ukraine, according to the German readout of the call.

Earlier, the Kremlin said Putin had pointed out "gross violations of the norms of international law by fighters who profess Nazi ideology" to the German chancellor.

Russia has repeatedly sought to justify its war against Ukraine by claiming its aim the "denazification" of its neighbour, despite there being no evidence to support such a claim.

Hebestreit said the two leaders also spoke about the pressure on global food supplies due to the war in Ukraine, one of the world's most important wheat exporters.

"The chancellor reiterated that Russia has a special responsibility here," the German spokesperson wrote.

The Kremlin said Putin had provided "detailed" information on Russia's goals in Ukraine, with a focus on its humanitarian goals. It was agreed that the discussion would be continued "through various channels."

Friday morning's telephone call was the first conversation between the two leaders in more than six weeks.

Scholz had informed lawmakers of his plan to contact Putin earlier on Friday, according to participants in a Bundestag defence committee meeting on German weapons supplies to Ukraine.

Scholz spoke to Putin by telephone several times following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with their last call taking place on March 30. Days later, news emerged of the massacre in the town of Bucha near Kiev.

For a period, French President Emmanuel Macron also had no contact with Putin. However, they spoke again by phone on May 3, while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Putin in Moscow in April in an attempt to de-escalate the conflict.