The parties continued to discuss the developments in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin laid out Russia’s principled approaches in the context of the special military operation to protect the residents of Donbass, explaining in detail its objectives that will be achieved without fail.
Olaf Scholtz expressed concern over the active hostilities and reports of the sides’ civilian and military casualties. Vladimir Putin recalled that for eight years, the Western partners shut their eyes to the genocide of people of the Donbass republics perpetrated by the Kiev regime. About 14,000 people, including thousands of children, died as a result. During the special operation, the Russian military are doing all they can to protect civilian lives. Reports of shelling in Kiev and other big cities are crudely fabricated propaganda.
It was emphasised that the main threat is posed by neo-Nazi military units that are committing numerous war crimes. They are using terrorist methods by deploying strike weapons in residential areas and cynically using civilians as cover. The Kiev authorities continue to break their promise to stop the barbarity – the number of such cases has been on the rise in the past few days.
We are increasingly documenting the appearance of mercenaries from third countries, including Albania and Croatia, militants from Kosovo and even jihadists with experience in combat in Syria.
In addition, over 6,000 foreign citizens, mostly students, have essentially been taken hostage and are being used by radicals as the human shield. Attempts to leave the districts controlled by Ukrainian forces are stopped at gunpoint. One recent case that cannot be ignored is the shelling of a foreign student dormitory by the neo-Nazis in the city of Sumy. Some students were wounded.
The collective West prefers to ignore such violations of international humanitarian law, and so the President of Russia urged Olaf Scholz to compel the Kiev authorities to release foreign citizens as soon as possible and organise their safe evacuation.
Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with Ukraine as well as all those in Ukraine who want peace, but on the condition that all Russian demands are met. These include a neutral and nuclear-free status for Ukraine, mandatory demilitarisation and denazification of the Ukrainian state, recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and the sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR within the borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
The hope was expressed that representatives of Kiev will take a reasonable and constructive position at the planned third round of talks.
The President of Russia and the Chancellor of Germany will continue their contacts.