Scholz Urged Putin in a Phone Call to Withdraw Troops from Ukraine

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Chancellor Scholz condemned Russian missile strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine. Putin said the attacks were “forced and unavoidable”. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their first telephone conversation since mid-September to discuss Russian shelling of civilian infrastructure, Western support for Ukraine, explosions at Nord Streams, and a deal to export Ukrainian grain through ports in the Black Sea. This was reported in Berlin and Moscow on Friday, December 2. “The one-hour-long conversation focused on Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine and its ramifications,” the federal government’s press and information office reported. As noted, the Chancellor condemned Russian airstrikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and stressed Germany’s “determination to support Ukraine in ensuring its defense capability against Russian aggression.” “The Chancellor called the Russian President for a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, including the withdrawal of Russian troops,” the press service said. The leaders also discussed the global food situation, “particularly tense as a result of Russia’s war of aggression. “The Chancellor and the Russian President agreed to remain in contact,” Berlin added. Putin called aid to Ukraine a “destructive line” According to the Kremlin press service, President Putin told the German Chancellor that “missile strikes on targets in Ukraine” are “a forced and unavoidable response to Kyiv’s provocative attacks against Russian civil infrastructure, including the Crimean bridge and energy facilities.” In addition, Putin described as “destructive” the policy of Western countries, which provide Kyiv with weapons and training for the Ukrainian military. According to Moscow, “all this, as well as comprehensive political and financial support for Ukraine, makes Kyiv completely reject the idea of any negotiations.” Putin also stated the need for a “transparent investigation” of the Nord Stream explosions with the participation of Russian relevant structures. In addition, the leaders discussed the implementation of the Black Sea grain initiative on taking grain and related products out of Ukrainian ports. “The need for a fair and holistic implementation of the ‘grain deal’ was emphasized, which implies the removal of all barriers to Russian supplies as well,” the Kremlin said.