BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Friday it was “absolutely necessary” for some leaders to speak directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of efforts to end the war in Ukraine, and he and the French President will continue to do so.
Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have had several phone conversations with Putin, separately and together, since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. These contacts have drawn criticism, including from the Polish president, who recently said they were going nowhere and only served to legitimize the Russian leader.
“It is absolutely necessary to speak to Putin, and I will continue to do so, just as the French president will also do so,” Scholz told German news agency dpa in an English-language video interview a day after he Macron. and Italian leaders. and Romania held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
“There are necessary countries, and necessary leaders, talking to him – and they need to be clear,” Scholz told dpa.
“When I talk to Putin, I say, for example, the same things I told you,” he added. “Please understand that there will be no dictated peace(d), and if you truly believe that you will steal land and then hope that times will change and everything will be back to normal, that’s is an error.”
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He said his message is that “you have to withdraw your troops and you have to find an agreement with Ukraine that is acceptable and fair to the Ukrainian people”.
During Thursday’s visit to Kyiv, Scholz and his fellow leaders pledged support for Ukraine’s bid to eventually join the European Union. On Friday, the EU’s Executive Commission recommended making Ukraine a candidate for membership, which the bloc’s current 27 members will have to approve.
“We’ll have to find a common approach, but I’m pretty optimistic about our ability to handle this,” Scholz said.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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