Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to contacts with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, although he has no scheduled phone conversation with him. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti, Reuters reports.
Germany, previously the main opponent among Western countries to provide advanced battle tanks to Ukraine to help it fight the Russian invasion, announced last week that will send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks of Kyiv, and will also approve the supply of such armored vehicles from allied European countries.
The news, followed shortly after by the US promise of M1 Abrams tanks for Kyiv, angered the Kremlin.
“So far, there are no coordinated talks (with Scholz) on the schedule. Putin was and remains open to contacts,” Peskov pointed out today.
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Scholz, quoted by the Berlin daily Tagespiegel, stated: “I will talk to Putin again – because the conversation is necessary”.
He added: “It is Putin’s duty to withdraw troops from Ukraine to end this terrible, senseless war that has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Scholz is currently visiting South America.
The two of them last spoke with the Russian leader on the phone in early December. Then Putin warned that the line of Germany and the West on Ukraine is “destructive” and summoned Berlin to rethink its approach.
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According to the Institute of World Economy in Kiel Germany is the second largest supplier of military equipment to Ukraine after the United States, ahead of other European powers such as France and Great Britain.
Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to repel a hostile, invading West. For its part, Ukraine and its allies say the invasion was an unprovoked act of aggression.
Kyiv has said that peace talks are possible only if Russia stops attacking and withdraws all its forces from Ukrainian soil.