The discussion of developments around Ukraine continued. The President of Russia noted that the Ukrainian security forces shelled residential areas of Donetsk and Makeyevka, which resulted in heavy casualties. These war crimes were ignored in the West.
It was noted that the Russian Armed Forces were doing everything possible to preserve the lives of civilians including by organising safe corridors for the population to leave cities in the war zone. Thus, on March 17, as a result of the humanitarian operation in Mariupol, about 43,000 people were evacuated.
Vladimir Putin also provided an assessment of the talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives held via videoconference. It was noted that Kiev was seeking every opportunity to try to prolong the negotiation process by making new unrealistic proposals. Nevertheless the Russian side is ready to continue searching for ways out in the spirit of its well-known principled approaches.